Amanda Nunes balances a successful UFC career with an uplifting personal life

Amanda Nunes celebrates after defeating Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.
Amanda Nunes celebrates after defeating Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

It was a year ago this week that Amanda Nunes became combat sports’ first champion to come out as gay and movingly pronounced her love for her partner after beating Miesha Tate in the main event of UFC 200.

It turns out that as Nunes prepares for her second women’s bantamweight title defense Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in the UFC 213 main event, she could instead have been preparing for parenthood if fate hadn’t intervened.

Nunes’ partner, UFC strawweight fighter Nina Ansaroff, said she was planning to pursue in vitro fertilization and become pregnant this year if she lost her third consecutive UFC fight in January.


Instead, Ansaroff (7-5) submitted Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger in the third round.

“I was supposed to have our child this year. It was all depending on my last fight. But I won, I’ve got a run, so I’m going to take that run and go,” Ansaroff said a few weeks ago at a lunch with Nunes sitting beside her.

The 29-year-old Nunes (14-4) is certainly occupied for now with her own success, a five-fight win streak that has included four first-round finishes, including her UFC 200 submission of then-champion Tate.

Nunes followed that with a more impressive 48-second barrage of punches to the head that made for a convincing conquest by technical knockout over Ronda Rousey in December.

On Saturday night, Nunes confronts a rematch with No. 1-rated contender Valentina Shevchenko (14-2) after defeating Shevchenko by unanimous decision in March 2016.

Shevchenko has proceeded to defeat former champion Holly Holm and another highly rated contender, Julianna Pena. Shevchenko is banking on her endurance to defeat Nunes.

“She keeps saying all these things about my conditioning and stuff, but I’m ready. I have to prove it. I will,” Nunes said. “I’m going for the finish. Whenever it is, the third [round], the fourth, the fifth. I’m ready. … Right now, it’s about career.”


But with Ansaroff continually by her side at their Florida home, in training and public appearances such as Thursday’s UFC 213 news conference, the reminders of an uplifting personal life are a constant for the Brazilian champion.

“We want to marry, but I don’t even know when I’m going to ask her,” Nunes said. “We’ll see how our life is going. … Having a baby and bringing the baby into your life and filling it with love is a special thing. It is something we want.”

Ansaroff said the couple is planning to have more than one child.

“We want to get married and have kids, but in the right time period,” said Ansaroff. “She hasn’t asked me yet.”

Although the couple routinely post pictures of themselves cuddling, training, wearing matching shirts or joking around in the kitchen, Nunes said she will not repeat the scene of her countrywoman Jessica Andrade, who earlier this year asked for her partner’s hand in marriage in the octagon after a strawweight title defeat.

“No, never,” Nunes said.

Added Ansaroff: “[Andrade] never brought her [partner] into the ring. It felt sporadic. I don’t think it was very smooth at all. It’s not going to be sloppy like that.”

To which Nunes said, “We might not tell anyone,” when the wedding happens. A search of marriage records in Florida did not show that they’ve married yet.


“Our love is not, ‘I have to show people, I have to post this … ,’” Nunes said.

Yet, as Nunes appears in her third consecutive UFC pay-per-view main event, the financial security to pursue marriage and parenthood increases dramatically.

“The pay-per-views or the money has never been an issue for why, when or where we’re going to start our family,” Ansaroff, 31, said. “We’re more than outside the UFC. We’re going to do things how we’re going to do them. We don’t base what we’re going to do on the UFC. Of course, that makes everything better, but we don’t base our life on what we’re making.”

Twitter: @latimespugmire