Amanda Nunes is officially out of her UFC 213 main event title defense against Valentina Shevchenko due to illness and just like that international fight week suffered its first hiccup. Nunes certainly did herself no favors tonight after many have stood up for her by complaining that the UFC hasn’t been behind her during the build up to her fight against Ronda Rousey at UFC 207. With her removal from the card, the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division is in worse shape than it was already in. The interest in the current UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk offering to step in on extremely short notice to take on the woman who defeated her on three occasions in muay thai competition is proof that the 115 lb women’s champ could erase the pain of losing Nunes-Shevchenko fairly easily.
Shevchenko missed out on an opportunity to win the UFC gold and fans missed out on watching the imperfect division further develop as the prospects of a new bantamweight champion were pretty high. With the UFC introducing the 125 lb women’s division later this year, Shevchenko along with other fighters expressed interest in making a move to the flyweight division. We almost witnessed the potential future of the flyweight division face off, in Jedrzejczyk and Shevchenko’s attempt to square off on short notice. The fight could possibly generate higher interest than the rematch between Nunes and Shevchenko likely to be rebooked in September.
The women’s bantamweight division isn’t generating the same buzz as the Rousey era and with Miesha Tate’s retirement late last year, the current picture is filled with no true notable names. Sure, there is Holly Holm, but given her uneventful loss to Shevchenko last July along with her losses to Miesha Tate and Germaine de Randamie, all eyes appear to be on the Polish strawweight champion and Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Would anyone truly be excited to see the UFC 213 headline rebooked? Not unless the card is as stacked as Saturday’s event. Certainly not more than watching “Cyborg” or Joanna Champion compete.
Nunes is no marketing genius, instead she prefers to do her talking inside the cage, but that has been taken away as we are left with another canceled UFC title fight in 2017. The division is already sorely missing a much needed firecracker to hitch its wagon onto. Nunes’ activity in 2017 is officially MIA, but she can still make up for it, the only problem is that from now on we’ll all be holding our breath until she is physically inside of the octagon. Her health issues could potentially to be related to her weight cut, which could mean we are in store for a lesser version of Nunes whenever she does return. If that happens to be the case, her legacy could start and end with her win playing a major role in Ronda Rousey retiring from MMA.