Amanda Nunes, considered the greatest women’s fighter of all time, announced her retirement on Saturday at UFC 289.

Nunes shared her decision after defeating Irene Aldana via unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44, 50-44) to defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Double champion forever,” Nunes shouted into the microphone while her gloves were cut off. “This is the perfect night to retire.”

Asked after what she hopes she’s remembered for, Nunes didn’t hesitate. “The greatest of all time,” she said. “I did everything. I broke a lot of records.”

Nunes retires with the most wins in UFC women’s history (16), the most UFC women’s title fight wins (11), and most finishes in women’s UFC history (10).

The Professional Fighters League’s annual championship event went down on Wednesday night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and it was a huge night for women’s combat sports.

The card was topped by a 155-pound lightweight fight between unbeaten juggernaut Kayla Harrison (12-0) and a massive underdog in Taylor Guardado (3-2). The PFL lightweight title hung in the balance, as did the million-dollar prize the league awards the champion of each weight class at the end of each year.

As the pre-fight odds suggested, Harrison made it look easy, grounding and battering the outmatched Guardado en route to a second-round submission via armbar.

The fight marked the final obligation on Harrison’s latest PFL contract, making her arguably the hottest free agent in MMA today. She will undoubtedly field offers from other promotions like the UFC and Bellator, but could certainly be coaxed back to the PFL cage by the prospect of more million-dollar paydays.

“I have a lot to think about,” she said at the event’s post-fight press conference. “I have a family now. I still want to be the best in the world. I still want to continue to challenge myself. I feel like I can do that no matter where I go, but I got two mouths to feed and a family to take care of. We’ll see what happens.”

While Harrison’s latest domination was deserving of its headlining spot, it certainly wasn’t the only big-ticket women’s bout on the bill. Earlier on the main card, three-division boxing world champion Claressa Shields (11-0 boxing, 1-1 MMA) competed in her second MMA bout, taking on Mexico’s Abigail Montes (3-0) in a 155-pound scrap.

Shields had her moments in the fight, landing plenty of her Olympic-caliber punches and even competing her lone takedown attempt of the fight. Unfortunately for the boxing champ, Montes proved a little too much, too soon. The Mexican prospect completed two of four takedown attempts and controlled her foe against the cage for the vast majority of the fight—enough, in sum, to sway two of three cage-side judges and earn a split decision victory. The win will more than likely earn her a spot in the 2022 PFL season.

“I was always very confident in the work I put in and all that I did in my camp,” Montes said at the event’s post-fight press conference. “That’s why I looked very confident inside the cage.”

Shields, meanwhile, will have to return to the drawing board if she intends to continue her quest to become a two-sport world champion. Before she gets back to training at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, of course, she’ll need to prepare for her December boxing match with Ema Kozin.

The first women’s bout of the night, also contested at 155 pounds, pitted Minnesota’s Kaitlin Young against Canada’s Julia Budd. Young, a striking specialist, gave Budd some interesting looks on the feet, particularly in the first round, but Budd was able to ply her wrestling to secure multiple takedowns en route to a well-deserved unanimous decision victory.

The win marks a successful PFL debut for Budd, who recently ended a lengthy stint with Bellator, one that included an impressive reign as the promotion’s featherweight champion. With Wednesday’s victory, she can look forward to a spot in the 2022 PFL season and a potential fight with Harrison. Budd is easily the stiffest challenge for Harrison in the PFL at present.

Young may also be invited to compete in the 2022 PFL season, but after going 1-2 in the PFL cage in 2021, it’s also possible she’ll lose her spot on the roster.

Claressa Shields has made it a habit of doing the undoable. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-division world champion has seldom been the underdog in her boxing matches, but she has repeatedly left her skeptics in stunned silence with the feats she achieves. 

“I’m a person who does the impossible,” Shields told Just Women’s Sports. “Like when I won the Olympics twice for America, I was the only American to ever do so, back-to-back. They said it was impossible. I did it. 

“They said it wasn’t possible for anybody to become a three-division world champ faster than [Vasiliy] Lomachenko. He did it in 11 fights, I did in 10. Boom.” 

“Being a woman in boxing, we’re not treated good,” she added. “Also being a Black woman: how they stereotype us and how they portray us from the beginning makes it hard for us to be successful in our fields, and I’m one of the best woman fighters ever.”

Shields’ appetite for seemingly insurmountable challenges not only helped her conquer the boxing world, but drove her to seek out new tests in an entirely new sport: mixed martial arts. 

The pugilist put pen to paper with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) late last year and made a successful MMA debut with the promotion in June, rallying to defeat the amply more experienced Brittney Elkin.  

“They said no boxer could transition into MMA and win against a person who’s good at BJJ [Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu] or good on the ground,” Shields said proudly, looking back on her debut. “I did it again: third-round TKO over Brittney Elkin.”

Claressa Shields won via TKO in her first MMA fight against Brittney Elkin. (Professional Fighters League)

Shields’ next MMA bout is Wednesday. She’ll look to make it 2-0 against Mexico’s Abigail Montes at an October 27 PFL event in Fort Lauderdale, which will also feature a whopping six world title fights.

Shields knows she has a dangerous opponent on her hands but is confident her diligent training will serve her well.

“I think it’s a good matchup,” she said. “She’s mostly a striker with punches and kicks. From the fights that I’ve seen, she likes to be the bully. She likes to push forward and push girls back and beat the girls up. I’m excited for her to try that against me, because I don’t let nobody bully me in a fight.

“We’ve listened to her interviews and she said she’s basically going to out-strike me,” Shields added, oozing confidence. “I can’t wait to see that happen.” 

If Shields defeats Montes on October 27, it will set her up for more tough challenges in the PFL cage. If her success continues thereafter, she may ultimately earn a shot at the promotion’s lightweight title, currently the property of two-time Olympic judoka and unbeaten mixed martial artist Kayla Harrison. If Shields wins that title, she’ll be able to call herself a two-sport champion, and one of the greatest fighters in the history of combat sports, period.

As ever, her mission looks almost impossible from the outset, but she believes it can be accomplished. 

“I feel like becoming the PFL lightweight champion is very, very possible,” she said. “I know there’s some girls standing in my way right now, the main one being Kayla Harrison. She’s like the top tier [in MMA]. I’m very respectful of her and her skillset, and of her being the champion, and how hard she works. That’s why I’m working very, very hard to be on that level, so when the time comes for me and her to fight, or for me and any of the other top-ranked girls to fight, it’ll be a very, very competitive fight and it’ll be worth the fans’ money.

“It’s not impossible, and that makes me very happy,” she added. “I’m just enjoying the process.”

Shields prepares to enter the cage against Elkin. (Professional Fighters League)

Amazingly, two-sport glory isn’t where Shields’ ambition ends. She also has eyes on other industries, with big plans percolating behind the scenes.  

“I still got a lot of work to do,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of dreams to accomplish that people don’t know about. I got stuff I want to do in music, stuff I want to do in modeling and movies.”

Shields’ ambition knows no bounds, but many of her goals seem to hinge on the outcome of her upcoming matchup with Montes. She isn’t big on specific, pre-fight predictions, but it’s fair to say she doesn’t see her habit of conquering massive challenges faltering now.

“I’m not even going to put that kind of pressure on myself, to say third-round, second-round, first-round knockout,” she said. “I just know that I’ve trained harder for this fight than I did for my last fight. I’ve changed a lot of things up. I feel a lot healthier, a lot better, a lot more focused, and I have a lot more support this camp than I did last camp. I feel good.

“I’ve come a long way and I can’t wait to display that.”

Tune in: Watch PFL 2021 on ESPN2 October 27th at 4:30pm ET. Learn more about the event and additional ways to watch here