In search of a new opponent for her scheduled Octagon appearance at a May 8 UFC event, #6 ranked bantamweight contender, Julianna Pena has claimed that the official will be forced to pull her off defending champion, Amanda Nunes as she continues to campaign for a shot at the Brazilian’s throne.
Pena, the victor of The Ultimate Fighter 18 has continously called for her first promotional title challenge against the current two-weight world champion, Nunes, claiming in January that the Bahia native has continued to “duck” her throughout her reign as division pacesetter.
Returning to the winner’s enclosure following a surprising guillotine loss to inaugural featherweight champion, Germaine de Randamie, Pena featured at UFC 257 in January, submitting Olympic silver medalist, Sara McMann with a crafty third round rear-naked choke.
Afterwards, Pena claimed that Nunes, who has yet to defend the bantamweight championship in over a year, should vacate the title if she had no intention to continue fighting at 135-pounds in the future.
The Washington native recently suggested a Mother’s Day title matchup with fellow parent, Nunes, and brashly claimed in a recent interview with ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani that she would leave Nunes curled up in the fetal position if they met — also forcing a referee to pull her off of the Brazilian.
“Because she (Amanda Nunes) knows stylistically that I’m the worst matchup for her,” Pena replied when asked why Nunes doesn’t want to fight her. “Do you remember — let’s go back, do you remember when she fought Cat Zingano? What happened in that fight? She lost. She curled up in the fetal position and the referee had to freakin’ pull Cat off of her.“
“I beat Cat. I just beat the other best wrestler in the division, Sara McMann, a silver (medalist) Olympic wrestler,” Pena said.”I am the best wrestler in the division. I’m holding the title for the best wrestler in the division. And she knows she’s going to be curled up in the fetal position — she quit in that fight, and she knows she’s going to have to quit again. The ref’s going to have to pull me off too, I’m going to put her in those uncomfortable positions, and she’s not going to want to fight me. She’s going to find a way out of this fight yet again.“
Echoing calls for Nunes to vacate the bantamweight crown, she claimed that if the Brazilian wanted to stay “fat” at 145-pounds, she should drop the bantamweight championship.
“She (Holly Holm) pulled out with an injury,” Pena replied when asked why her fight with Holm was shelved. “And, you know, that couldn’t have worked (out) any better for me, because at the end of the day, forget about Holly Holm. I want to fight for the title. 135-pounds (championship) has not been defended for over a year. If you’re not going to fight, then give it up, get the ‘f’ out of here and let somebody else fight for it.“
“If she (Nunes) wants to stay fat at 145-pounds, do that then,” Pena said. “And all these girls who fight at 145 can make 135, I hope you know that. They can make the weight, they just wanna be lazy and they don’t wanna cut. 135-pounds is where the fights are at, no one cares about the 145-pound division, it’s dead, it’s done. You act like you’ve ‘cleaned out the division’, you haven’t cleaned out the division. I’m still here, I’m still standing and I’ve been here this entire time.“
Dropping defeats to both common-foes, de Randamie, and current flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, Pena dropped a title-eliminator against the Kyrgyzstan native back in January of 2017 via an opening round armbar.
In six Octagon wins, Pena has bested Jessica Rakoczy, Milana Dudieva, Jessica Eye, inaugural flyweight champion, Nicco Montano, as well as January foe, former title challenger, McMann.
For Nunes, the American Top Team staple notched the second successful defence of her featherweight championship at UFC 259 last Saturday, submitting former Invicta FC champion, Megan Anderson with a timely first round triangle armbar win.