On Thursday (March 8, 2018), the promotion announced that the women's bantamweight champion would make her next title defense against rising contender Raquel Pennington at the upcoming UFC 224 pay-per-view event.
However, it seems they've opted to just proceed with this match-up instead and it'll see the 29-year-old Nunes attempting to defend her 135lb title for the third time, having already defeated Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko during her current reign. Pennington is on a four-fight winning streak capped by a dominant decision over ex-champ Miesha Tate at UFC 205. She has notable wins against Miesha Tate and Jessica Andrade. "Nunes wants the fight, she wants the fight, I want the fight, I'm sure the fans want to see it, too, so we'll get that one going". Nunes (15-4) has won six fights in a row and will return to her homeland of Brazil to fight for the first time since 2015.
Following "Cyborg's" win over Yana Kunitskaya last weekend at UFC 222, Dana White said that an expected bout between Nunes and Pennington could be iced, as a means to book "Cyborg" - Nunes. "And I just think her and Nunes is the fight that needs to happen". Pennington made her promotional debut for UFC against Roxanne Modaffieri as a result of "The Ultimate Fighter 18" finale, winning by unanimous decision.
However, it was too quick a turnaround for Cyborg. "I'm not calling [Nunes] out". Going down on May 12th, the UFC 224 card will also feature Lyoto Machida fighting Vitor Belfort, along with Jacare Souza's clash with Kelvin Gastelum.