McGregor’s first octagon defeat came at the hands of Nate Diaz at UFC 196, where Diaz shocked the MMA world by rallying to submit the gassed McGregor. However, McGregor was able to correct things and outlasted Diaz in their rematch at UFC 202, where he did a much better job of managing his energy.
Nunes (21-5 MMA, 14-2 UFC) lost her bantamweight title to Julianna Peña (11-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC), who fought fire with fire to break and submit the champion at UFC 269. After the fight, Nunes said she came in with a knee injury. Sonnen thinks the former UFC dual-champ – Nunes still holds the women’s featherweight title – still is underestimating Peña.
“Conor McGregor broke against Nate Diaz, and it was a very similar fight,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Conor talked about it. Conor was very open. He said, ‘I mismanaged my energy.’ Now, that’s a fancy way of saying, ‘I got tired and quit,’ but he still acknowledged it, and that is the No. 1 reason he was able to change it in the second fight.
“I’m not positive in the things I’m hearing with Amanda that she’s come to terms with what happened. It wasn’t about running. It wasn’t about the knee. It wasn’t about conditioning. It was about hitting a girl with the same shots that every other girl fell down against, and this one doesn’t. … It’s a very correctable thing. You can see Conor McGregor as an example, but only if you acknowledge it.”
Sonnen picked Peña to win the first time and is leaning toward “The Venezuelan Vixen” to upset Nunes once again and retain her belt in Saturday’s UFC 277 main event at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ABC/ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
“History says Julianna wins, not Chael,” Sonnen said. “History says if a younger fighter stops an older fighter and they rematch, the younger fighter will do it again, only quicker. I do not believe that Julianna – who I picked the first time and I’m picking this time – I do not believe that Julianna is as good of a fighter as Amanda. I do not believe she’s as skilled. … But Julianna has an understanding of what she needs to do.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 277.