Not that Nunes isn't deserving -- with a 5-1 UFC record, she is -- but Tate (18-5) was coming off a close, entertaining upset against former champion Holly Holm (10-1) at UFC 196, one of the most financially successful cards in UFC history. It felt like a fight the company would want to run back immediately.
This is especially so when considering Holm's selling power, which is among the strongest in the division thanks to her historic knockout win over Ronda Rousey last year. While Nunes is a relative unknown still, Holm has a wide reach due to her professional boxing background and that stunning performance against Rousey.
So, why didn't Holm get the immediate rematch? Her longtime coach, Mike Winkeljohn, believes the Rousey win actually hurt his fighter's chances for one.
"I think it's really unfortunate -- I know Holly pulls numbers," Winkeljohn told ESPN.com. "She's well liked and she brings in a whole new demographic for the UFC. People can read into it however, but she knocked out their cash cow. She beat the girl who was making them all their money.
"That's what she was supposed to do, that's her job, but every day the UFC doesn't give her a rematch I feel that's why. Things don't make sense to me when I look at the numbers. The UFC is very successful and they've got a lot figured out, but I think they are missing it on this one."
Since Holm's loss to Tate via rear-naked choke on March 5, UFC president Dana White has been publicly critical of her manager, Lenny Fresquez. Although White has remained complimentary of Holm, he has stated several times that Fresquez should have talked her into waiting for what would have been a lucrative rematch against Rousey later this year, rather than push for a fight against Tate.
Whether White's frustration toward Holm's manager has something to do with the 135-pound title picture or not is unknown. Fresquez told ESPN.com he was told it was Tate's decision to fight Nunes next. Tate, who fights out of Las Vegas, has said the UFC brought up Nunes' name and she simply accepted.
"I get a sense Ronda Rousey does not want to ever fight Holly Holm again. I'm hoping she's put in a position where she feels she has to, if she wants to get back what she lost."Mike Winkeljohn
"I agreed Amanda is next -- she's on a three-fight win streak," Tate said. "I have nothing against Holly, or a rematch against Holly, at all. We'll see each other soon, it's not the end of the world. Just because Amanda is unknown doesn't mean she's not dangerous. People thought Holly had no chance [against Rousey] and now she's a superstar."
After the UFC booked Tate vs. Nunes, the promotion did offer Holm a 140-pound catchweight fight against Brazilian Cris "Cyborg" Justinoat UFC 198 on May 14 in Curitiba, Brazil. Holm ultimately turned the bout down and is currently without an opponent.
According to Winkeljohn, Holm wasn't in a great position to accept the Justino fight due to prior commitments -- but he said he would have advised against it anyway, for several reasons.
"We want the title back," Winkeljohn said. "They wanted a catchweight fight in Brazil? So, let me think about it. Fight a bigger girl in the other girl's country with the decision-making that sometimes goes on down there? I'm not sure I would have talked her into an opponent's country, at a higher weight, in a fight that potentially goes to the judges. That doesn't make sense to me."
White has already stated Rousey's (12-1) first fight back will be for a title. The 29-year-old hasn't fought since the loss to Holm, but could return at a scheduled event on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Given what happened in their first meeting, a Rousey-Holm rematch would seem inevitable at some point. Winkeljohn says he doesn't think Rousey is very interested in it though, so if it does happen, it will be because Holm and her team get into a position where it's Rousey's only option.
"I get a sense Ronda Rousey does not want to ever fight Holly Holm again," Winkeljohn said. "I'm hoping she's put in a position where she feels she has to, if she wants to get back what she lost.
"I think the reason why we're here today is because of Ronda Rousey, so she has to be given credit for that -- but I think Holly exposed her. And I think the whole women's division is better for it. I think they no longer have that big fear. Everybody sees now, that all these girls can beat each other on any given day when they make a mistake, like Holly made in the Miesha fight."