Julianna Pena is currently the UFC’s No. 3-ranked contender in the women’s bantamweight division, and has been heavily campaigning for a shot at the 135-pound title for some time now.
Pena will have the opportunity to solidify her claim to challenge for the title when she takes on No. 2-ranked Valentina Shevchenko in their main event match-up at UFC on FOX 23. After downing former title challenger Cat Zingano at UFC 200 this past July Pena extended her impressive win streak to four, and with a win over the former Muay Thai champion Shevchenko she’ll most likely be next up for the title shot.
If that isn’t the case, however, Pena tells ESPN’s 5ive Rounds Podcast (courtesy of Bloody Elbow) that she’ll most likely seek out employment from a different promotion:
“Maybe I’ll go fight for Combate [Americas] or something because it sounds like they want to pay me serious money and actually give me a belt right off the bat just like they did with Ronda in the UFC,” Peña said. “They just handed Ronda a belt, and Combate will hand me a belt, so I don’t know, we’ll see how that goes.”
‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ also claimed that she believes UFC President Dana White knows inside that she is the clear-cut contender for the title, and that if she is looked over once again she’ll ‘quit’:
“I think Dana knows that I’m a firecracker, and I definitely don’t think that he wants see the wrath that will come if I don’t get a title shot after this,” Peña said. “I would be shocked. I won’t say that it couldn’t happen because anything can happen, especially in this sport.
“But I think that he definitely knows that I’m the clear cut answer for getting a title shot. So I don’t want to even put that in the universe. If I don’t get a title shot, I quit.”
For now Pena will focus her attention on Shevchenko, who comes off of a win over former 135-pound champ Holly Holm, where a win over ‘The Bullet’ could mean a shot at her life-long dream.
Shevchenko and Pena will meet in the main event of UFC on FOX 23 from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado on January 28, 2017.