Miesha Tate silently nodded to herself as she watched Amanda Nunes struggle Cris Cyborg. None of what she noticed was surprising — she skilled it herself.

Cyborg charged ahead, winging laborious punches. However Nunes dropped her with a brief proper hand whereas Nunes’ again was towards the fence. Cyborg got here ahead and Nunes put her down once more with a looping overhand proper.

Compromised, however nonetheless combating, Cyborg continued to throw large pictures. Nunes calmly got here excessive with one other proper hand and it was over. Identical to that, Nunes had knocked out Cyborg within the first spherical to win the featherweight title at UFC 232 on Dec. 29, 2018.

That ultimate punch despatched Cyborg spiraling to the mat and cemented Nunes as the best girls’s MMA fighter of all time. “[Cyborg does] not simply go down,” Tate mentioned. “She went in like a corkscrew movement. She like spun her round. And that is what I imply — it appears so easy. The facility [Nunes] delivers with the relative effort that she appears like she expresses by her physique, it simply would not appear to make sense. It would not appear like she’s throwing out-of-this-world energy. However I can let you know firsthand, she actually is.”

Nunes began her run of dominance when she stopped Tate with a rear-naked choke submission in the principle occasion of UFC 200 on July 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. The victory earned her the UFC girls’s bantamweight title. Nunes will try to defend the featherweight title towards Felicia Spencer in the principle occasion of UFC 250 on Saturday night time on the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Since beating Tate, Nunes has completed Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm and Cyborg, amongst others. She defeated Valentina Shevchenko, the present flyweight champion, twice. Nunes is the one girl in UFC historical past to win titles in two totally different weight courses. Nunes has probably the most wins in UFC historical past for ladies (12), probably the most wins in UFC title fights amongst girls (7) and has defeated each girl who has ever gained both the bantamweight or featherweight title within the UFC.

Tate isn’t shocked by any of it.

“It was the primary time that I’d say I skilled that, the place I used to be attempting to struggle by being extraordinarily rocked,” Tate mentioned. “And he or she simply stored the strain and she or he stored hitting me. I used to be attempting to get well. I felt like a type of Marvel online game characters with the life bar. Whenever you’re taking part in the sport and the life bar is attempting to construct, however you retain getting hit and it retains getting smaller. That is how I felt.”

What’s it prefer to struggle Nunes? ESPN requested Tate and three of Nunes’ different UFC opponents to explain the distinctive wrestle of competing towards the most effective girls’s fighter of all time.

Editor’s be aware: Solutions have been edited for brevity and readability.

Holly Holm

Misplaced to Nunes through first-round TKO at UFC 239 on July 6, 2019

She’s tall [5-8]. She is likely one of the greater fighters, particularly at 135 kilos. She’s assured. Any fighter that assured I all the time worry greater than anybody else. She’s various. Everyone is aware of her for her energy, however she’s additionally received scrambles on the bottom. So, she’s very well-rounded. It is like, man, I may very well be in a state of affairs right here or right here or right here. It is not such as you’re solely watching out for one factor. I feel that is what makes her form of a scary fighter to face. She’s assured for a motive — as a result of she’s profitable.

I felt like actually within the struggle my mindset was like, “Holly, why are you being hesitant? Simply go.” There’s a gap there. As a substitute of going, I used to be hesitant, after which I received kicked. That is what I keep in mind concerning the struggle. I feel it was me taking too lengthy to really feel it out, slightly than simply go. Any time you throw something, there’s additionally an opportunity of a counter, too, so that you need it to be clear. I let myself assume an excessive amount of as an alternative of appearing and letting it go. I do not keep in mind the kick that led to the end, however I keep in mind as quickly as I hit my butt I noticed the ref and was prefer to myself, “No, rise up, maintain going.” I wasn’t knocked out, however I used to be undoubtedly flashed. I keep in mind the entire struggle earlier than, and I keep in mind as quickly as I hit my butt I keep in mind attempting to stand up and feeling my legs a bit off. And considering I would like to maneuver round.

However the struggle was already over.

Miesha Tate

Misplaced to Nunes through first-round submission at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016

I simply keep in mind being actually stunned at how highly effective her punches have been. She knocked out Julia Budd earlier in her profession and it appeared so easy. It virtually appeared like a bizarre punch that landed at a bizarre time. That is the factor that has actually amazed me since I fought her and watching her since: She would not appear like she’s attempting so laborious together with her placing. She appears comparatively easy. It is simply the way in which she connects, the putting, the timing. All the pieces.

She’s made to do it — she’s actually made to do it. She’s received a falcon-like wingspan and her physique simply actually permits for lots of energy to be delivered when she intends to. And you’ll’t actually inform when that’s. She would not make it appear like that punch is that a lot tougher than the remainder of them.

I am telling you, it is even in her jab. Her jabs are nasty. I feel these have been the primary punches that began to rock me a bit bit. I can not keep in mind anyone actually rocking me with a jab.

I feel what actually stood out to me was her skill to ship energy in her pictures. As soon as we hit the bottom, I used to be actually out of it. I keep in mind my physique was not coordinating with what I needed it to. It was so unusual. I could not get my physique to reply the way in which I needed it to. I used to be so off-balance. I really fell alone, as a result of I used to be already dazed. I keep in mind my heel caught the underside of the cage and I fell. I used to be like, “Dammit.” I used to be involved about her getting on prime of me, as a result of I did not have the power. I might say my power was all the way down to 30%, possibly even much less. Actually unusual how the neurons in your mind work.

She was deceptively lengthy. That was the opposite factor, too. I assumed I used to be out of vary. However I wasn’t. She actually received me with jab after which there have been proper fingers that adopted. It appeared like I simply could not get out of her vary.

Cat Zingano

Beat Nunes through third-round TKO at UFC 178 on Sept. 27, 2014

I simply keep in mind her hits. I’ve all the time educated with guys. I keep in mind all the time considering with the small guys and the small ladies, anyone at 145 kilos or below, it all the time appeared like such a uncommon factor to see a struggle go to a knockout. It was all the time loopy endurance and all the time a lot motion and you may see nice jiu-jitsu, nice wrestling, nice velocity, all of that. However I had not ever skilled getting hit laborious sufficient to really feel or see something threatening to my consciousness. And I do keep in mind a few Nunes’ hits. Like rattling, that one had some warmth on it. I used to be considering I used to be hit rather a lot tougher than I have been hit by a woman earlier than. I did not know what number of she had of these in her. I used to be like, what number of does she have and what number of of these can I take?

I do know I hit laborious, too. Like huh, there’s one other considered one of me on the market. We’re the identical measurement and there is knockout energy — that is cool. Clearly not cool once you’re questioning whether or not it is gonna f—ing get you or not. I used to be a bit shocked. Like dang, that was a heavy hit. There was a number of in a row and I keep in mind getting hit and seeing like the celebrities and birds from the cartoons.

On the gates, she’s received that superior first wind. She’s assured and an animal coming off recent. However in case you climate that storm and also you simply chew down in your mouthguard, she will get drained and you may flip it round on her. I undoubtedly needed to powerful it out for a really giant portion of that first spherical, however there was undoubtedly a second the place it was like she gave me all the pieces she had after which it was my flip, and it was by no means her flip ever once more.

She’s powerful and she or he’s robust. So far as her teaching from American Prime Crew and her plan there, she’s received an awesome strategist. She’s received system going. However on the finish of the day, I broke her. I felt her wish to go residence and I do know she is aware of I felt that. I do know I felt that. It is loopy to see her come so far as she has after our struggle.

Germaine de Randamie

Misplaced to Nunes through unanimous determination at UFC 245 on Dec. 14, 2019, and through first-round TKO at UFC Combat for the Troops three on Nov. 6, 2013

One factor for certain is she has an awesome camp at American Prime Crew. She has nice coaches surrounding her, there is not any doubt about that. I feel she’s very sensible for doing that and with the ability to modify and keep on with the plan. She did an awesome job at UFC 245. If she wasn’t good at adapting to the sport plan and doing what she needed to do, she would not be champion anymore.

I used to be impressed at how good she was at protecting prime place. Lots of people mentioned after the struggle, “Germaine must work on her floor sport.” Lots of people overlook she’s a black belt on the bottom. She’s not the double champ for simply being an awesome knockout artist. She’s the champ as a result of she’s an awesome MMA fighter. I used to be impressed by the very fact she had good prime place. She was heavy on prime. Each time I attempted to place my toes on her hips, she adjusted. She stayed heavy.