Raquel Pennington eyes summer fight with UFC enemy Julianna Peña: ‘I’m so excited to finally punch her in the mouth’

Raquel Pennington eyes summer fight with Julianna Peña I can't wait to finally punch her face

Landing the vacant bantamweight championship last month at UFC 297, newly minted division best, Raquel Pennington has confirmed plans for a summer return in a first title defense, in a grudge fight against former champion and fellow TUF alum, Julianna Peña.

Pennington, the newly-crowned bantamweight champion, co-headlined UFC 297 back in January in Canada, landing a one-sided decision shutout win over surging Brazilian grappling ace, Mayra Bueno Silva to win the vacant title.

As for Peña, The Ultimate Figher victor has been sidelined since 2022, suffering a one-sided decision loss of her own against common-foe, Amanda Nunes, dropping the bantamweight crown in a championship rematch.

And forced from a planned trilogy rubber match with Nunes at a pay-per-view event last June in ‘The Great White North’, Peña has been sidelined through injury, leaving her unable to fight the Brazilian at UFC 289.

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Raquel Pennington welcomes summer fight with Julianna Peña

Planning her return to the Octagon in a title fight with Pennington in the aftermath of the Colorado native’s decision win over Bueno Silva, Peña’s wishes are set to be granted by the new gold holder, who plans a summer comeback to defend the title in the pair’s grudge match.

“At the end of the day, it’s exactly what I told Mayra (Bueno Silva) when we were getting ready to fight at the press conference: we were there and she started on, but our fists are going to do the talking,” Raquel Pennington told MMA Fighting. “It’s the same thing. You can keep running you mouth, you can keep saying all these things. I feel like Julianna (Peña) has a very delusional version of our history together, but it makes it fun.”

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“It’s building a storyline, and the more she keeps talking and yapping, she’s selling things,” Raquel Pennington explained. “Good for you. But at the end of the day, our fists are going to talk and I’ll you what, this is a fight I’ve been wating for since 2013 and we were on The Ultimate Fighter. Somehow our time has not aligned, but obviously it’s coming, and I’m excited to finally punch her ass in the mouth. I will say that.”

Who wins in a summer title fight: Raquel Pennington or Julianna Peña?