The budding rivalry between Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, at least from Pena’s side. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion relinquished her title to Nunes last month at UFC 277 in a rematch of their first meeting when Pena shocked the world and dethroned Nunes at the UFC 269, in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
Julianna Pena made her mark in the bantamweight division by earning a second-round submission win over Nunes in their first encounter, a fight she sought to perform in, and which sent everyone into a frenzy once she won. Considering the shocking nature of Pena’s anger, there was no choice but to book an immediate rematch between the two women, that rematch took place at UFC 277 last month.
In the rematch, Nunes put on a world-class dominant display en route to a unanimous decision victory and reclaiming the UFC women’s bantamweight title. The one-sided affair was so dominant from Nunes that the official scorecards were marked at 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43, but Julianna Pena never gave in and never gave up, fighting the 25 minutes of the competition.
The two women were also coaches of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 30 this year and with the TUF Finals taking place this past weekend in Las Vegas, Pena was on hand to witness the final bouts of the season and see new winners be crowned. After the event, Pena spoke to the ESPN post-fight show and said she was ready for a trilogy fight against Nunes, and called out the champion for not being present while a member of his team was fighting in the final.
“I’m ready to go round 8 right now. How are we going. I am here. Where are you Amanda? Amanda, seriously, where are you? You left your girlfriend hanging out there. I showed up for the Pena team. She didn’t show up for Team Nunes. I’m here, I’m ready for round 8.” (H/T MMA fight)
There was an obvious change in Nunes’ game plan and fighting style from his first fight against Pena, including a change in coaches and squad. This change was crucial for Nunes to reclaim her title, but the now former champion believes that if she has time to prepare for both styles of Nunes, the defending champion will not touch Pena.
“When someone completely revamped and completely changed their entire stance and their entire fighting style because of me? I take that as a compliment. I think if you give me time to prepare for Amanda’s two positions, she won’t touch me next time.
Having already proven that she can defeat Nunes, Julianna Pena is not lacking in confidence when it comes to a clash between the two. Later, when appearing on the post-fight show, she didn’t seem as optimistic that a trilogy fight could happen by the end of the year due to potential injuries to Nunes. . No matter when a potential trilogy might be made between the two, Pena is ready to prove once again that she can defeat Amanda Nunes.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former associate producer for Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
With a particular passion for interviewing and speaking to the best in the fighting game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work through his multiple outlets.
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