Though UFC women’s bantamweight contender Julianna Pena may have only fought once last year, she certainly made a name for herself outside of the cage. Peña made waves last year by giving multiple fired up interviews where she attacked the UFC for giving Ronda Rousey an immediate title shot, threatened to leave the UFC for doing so, and most recently, she threatened to “raise Hell” if she was denied a title shot after winning her next fight against Valentina Shevchenko. Well, it looks like 2017 will be no different.
In a recent appearance on Brian Stann’s radio show Toe-2-Toe on SiriusXM Rush, Peña once again took aim at Ronda Rousey following her 48-second destruction at the hands of bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, saying that Rousey was never that good and that the former champion had been ducking her going all the way back to her days as a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter.
“It just sucks that Ronda’s been dodging me this whole time. When I was on The Ultimate Fighter and Dana allowed women to fight in the UFC, she was fighting one girl while I fought four girls in seven weeks. The reason why they don’t count those fights as real is because it would be illegal. It would be absolutely illegal to allow that many fights in that short amount of time.
“The thing that drives me crazy is that I took out her whole team. She should’ve wanted to fight me in vengeance for her team right after I beat every member on her team. I dismantled all of them. It drives me crazy that it wasn’t me that was able to do it and it drives me crazy that she’s been dodging me this whole time and that I wasn’t the one to be able to dethrone her. To show everyone that this girl’s been spoiled. She’s been handpicking her fights from day one. She’s been getting everything handed to her because her name is Ronda Rousey and she’s been brought up to be this glorious god that was untouchable and it just drives me crazy that I wasn’t able to be the one to dethrone her from the beginning.
“But hats off to Holly Holm and hats off to Amanda Nunes for getting the job done. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to be me and I don’t know if it ever will be because I don’t know if she’s ever gonna come back or not.”
Peña made her way to the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Season 18, the first season to feature female fighters and the season coached by then champion Rousey. Peña was the first overall selection for Miesha Tate and defeated two of Rousey’s selections en route to winning the tournament, Rousey’s longtime friend and training partner Shayna Baszler and Rousey’s last pick, Jessica Rakoczy. As Peña began to put together her current four-fight winning streak, Rousey defended her belt five times against top-ranked contenders. Rousey’s recent losses, including her devastating loss a little over a week ago, have left her MMA future incredible uncertain.
Peña’s future, on the other hand, is far more concrete. She’s set to take on No. 1 contender Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC on FOX: Denver with the winner all but guaranteed the next crack at Amanda Nunes’ title. It’s a fight Peña didn’t particularly want beforehand, but now she has jumped into it wholeheartedly, saying she has an “obsession” with this fight and with proving that she is the true champion at 135 pounds.
“I’m constantly studying video on this girl. I think I’ve dug up every single video out of the depths of the internet on Valentina. I wake up thinking about her, I got to bed thinking about her. She’s always constantly on my mind. I stalk this girl for Pete’s sake. It’s kind of scary. The obsession that I have with her is a bit freaky. And it’s just because I want to prove a point to myself that I am the force to be reckoned with in this division like I’ve been saying since day one. I am the one to be feared. They do not want to get locked in the cage with me because I’m a freakin’ animal and I’m a machine and I’m coming to kill you.
“I think that they all underestimate me. All the time everybody’s always underestimating me. All the time everyone’s disrespecting me and not giving me my credit and it makes me so angry and it puts a fire underneath my ass to go out there and prove it time and time again. That I am the freakin’ champion, I am the rightful champion, and it’s only a matter of time and it will just be a consequence of all the hurdles and the bumps that I’ve had to go through that I get to that title shot and I get that 12 pounds of gold around my waist. It’s only a matter of time.”
Shevchenko is no easy task for the ambition young fighter though. The Russian bantamweight was among the best Muay Thai fighters in the world before transitioning to MMA where she has only suffered two defeats, one of those an extremely close battle with the current champion. But assuming she is able to get past Shevchenko, Peña likes her chances to against Nunes.
“I predicted from the very beginning that Amanda was gonna knock Ronda Rousey out and it turned out that I was right. I think that I hit the nail on the head. So congratulations to Amanda Nunes but I also know that the opponent I’m about to face has already faced her and gave her a hell of a war too so she’s not untouchable and every dog has its day.
“The lion climbing the hill is a lot more hungrier than a lion that sits on top of the hill, and I’m definitely a lion in my own right. I was born on Aug. 19th at 11:11 AM and I was bound for greatness. I am true Leo lion and I spit fire morning, noon, and night, and I’m not gonna stop until I get what’s rightfully mine.”
Peña faces Shevchenko in the main even of UFC on FOX: Denver on Jan. 28th.
Civil. Mark Hunt has filed a lawsuit against Brock Lesnar and the UFC.
86 420. The NAC will discuss removing marijuana from the banned list.
Cancellation. The UFC canceled their event scheduled for March 3rd in Las Vegas.
A la King. Jacare Souza says Luke Rockhold “chickened out” of fighting him.
Dodge. T.J. Dillashaw believes Cody Garbrandt is trying to “avoid the fight” with him.
Apparently Brock hexed them or something by walking on the logo.
Floyd telling Ronda to keep her head up.
Not technically MMA but Jack Slack is wonderful and this whole episode was great.
Angela Lee interview.
Anik and Flo.
This is the best thing done by an MMA fighter in a long time.
What a gentleman.
I hope it’s not for all. I hope y’all fight like 5 times.
Does this mean they’re fighting?
Buchholz is not happy about not getting his due.
Seems like she’s mad about the Carla news.
Elizabeth Phillips (5-4) vs. Leah Letson (3-1); Invicta 21, Jan. 15.
Melvin Guillard (32-16-2, 3 NC) vs. Chidi Njokuani (16-4, 1 NC); Bellator 171, Jan. 27.
Alessio Di Chirico (10-1) vs. Eric Spicely (9-1); UFC on Fox: Denver, Jan. 28.
Luis Henrique da Silva (12-1) vs. Jordan Johnson (6-0); UFC on Fox: Denver, Jan. 28.
Carla Esparza (11-3) vs. Randa Markos (6-4); UFC Fight Night: Halifax, Feb. 19.
Ricardo Ramos (9-1) vs. Michinori Tanaka (11-2); UFC Fight Night: Houston, March 4.
Vicente Luque (11-5-1) vs. Leon Edwards (12-3); UFC Fight Night: London, March 18.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2002: B.J. Penn lost for the first time in his career when Jens Pulver defeated him by unanimous decision at UFC 35 to retain his UFC lightweight championship. This event also featured Murilo Bustamante stopping Dave Menne with punches to claim the UFC midleweight championship.
2010: Gray Maynard defeated Nate Diaz in their rematch at UFC Fight Night: Fairfax.
That interview with Peña is something else. Sure, the Ronda ducking her while Ronda was fighting top 5 opponents is a bit off, but you can tell this woman has a huge chip on her shoulder and really, really wants this. Hard to imagine anyone who is more motivated than her right now.
That’s all folks. Have a great one and see y’all tomorrow.
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