MMA fighting

Julianna Peña Names Four Fighters She Admired As MMA Newcomers

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Peña admired some of the top female names in MMA when she came.

With a professional record of 11 wins and 4 losses and recently beating one of MMA’s greatest women to claim the UFC bantamweight title, Julianna Peña is becoming a star in her own right.

Peña took the MMA world by storm when she defeated Amanda Nunes at UFC 269. She started a fierce MMA career in 2009 and is still going strong. It’s no surprise, then, that the list of female MMA fighters she admires is/have been strong contenders.

“There were the girls who were fighting before me, while I was going up. Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg and Gina Carano. I loved Gina Carano. These are the ones I remember too,” Peña told the New York Post.

Peña and Miesha Tate became friends during their season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Miesha Tate, Photo Credit: Harry How/Zuffa LLC

Tate is a former UFC bantamweight champion who boasts impressive wins over Holly Holm and Jessica Eye. In May, the former champion will face Lauren Murphy for a return to the winner’s circle after losing the second fight of her 2021 comeback to Ketlen Vieira.

It’s also not shocking that Cris Cyborg made the list. Her name goes hand in hand with Women’s Mixed Martial Arts. The current Bellator bantamweight champion was dominating her opponents when Peña entered the professional MMA scene.

Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg
Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg, Photo credit: Strikeforce

Gina Carano was an unstoppable force until Cyborg snapped her 7-fight winning streak in 2009. It was the only loss and last fight of her MMA career.

“Shayna Baszler too. I remember buying her shirt, getting her autograph, and being a fan of hers. And then I had to fight her on “The Ultimate Fighter”. I was like, ‘I’m fighting someone I admire! Someone that I find really great! It was so weird to fight a legend. It definitely happened,” Peña continued.

Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler, Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

And it was an exciting game for Peña. She defeated her idol in the second round by rear choke. Current WWE star Baszler had a 15-11 MMA record.

What do you think of the fighters that Julianna Peña admired when she started MMA?