Julianna Peña shocked the world at UFC 269 in December, dethroning the previously unstoppable looking Amanda Nunes with a second round submission. The win earned her the UFC bantamweight title, a belt Nunes had held since 2016.
Peña’s first title defence is expected to be against Nunes, who is still the UFC featherweight champion. Before those two can go at it again, though, the UFC had them coach opposite each other on the 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter. That season debuts on May 3.
Ahead of her return to TUF (Peña won the show back in 2013) ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ spoke to CBS Sports’ Morning Kombat about what it was like coaching opposite Nunes.
“She’s a little bit more high maintenance than I had originally thought,” Peña revealed ((ht CBS Sports). “You’ll see what I mean but that’s all I can say for now. I really thought that I was high maintenance, like the most high maintenance, like no one gets more high maintenance than me. Right? I’m a diva! Then I experienced the things that Amanda was doing. My goodness, wow! I didn’t think that. I think I’ll probably be the same throughout. Nothing is really going to phase me too much in terms of being more high maintenance or not. But that was one thing that surprised me about her.”
Peña went on to say that she believes she “always” had a “mental edge” over Nunes, hinting that her team might be successful in the coming season. She also hinted that there may be some conflict between the coaches during the show.
“Obviously, what I feel and what I say and how I approach things bothers her. She has made that very clear,” she said.
Peña added that she thinks she has gotten under Nunes’ skin and that this will lead to a greater challenge when they eventually step back into the cage together.
“I think I lit a gas can of fire right underneath her behind. She is going to be more focused than she has ever been. I think she is going o be the best Amanda that she’s ever been, which is funny because that is what she said she is going to do the first time.
“This time she is coming at 110 percent. I’m going to get the best version of Amanda Nunes. That’s great because I was ready for that best version of Amanda Nunes in August. I was ready for that best version of Amanda Nunes in December. Whenever that date happens, hopefully in September on that Jon Jones card, I will be ready for that best version of Amanda Nunes. I will be willing and able. I can and I will meet that head-on and do everything in my power to get my hand raised.”
In the interview Peña also discussed what her win over Nunes meant for the Brazilian’s ‘Greatest of All Time’ status in women’s MMA.
“Do you think that when you beat the GOAT, you become the GOAT slayer?” she asked. “Well, then I think I might be the GOAT slayer.”
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