Julianna Peña shocked the world at UFC 269 when she dethroned then-bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes. With the odds heavily stacked against her, “The Venezuelan Vixen” got the job done via second-round submission to become the new queen at 135 pounds.
A few months later, “The Lioness” spoke about the said fight, attributing her unusually subpar performance to an injury during camp.
“I suffered some injuries along the way. Every athlete has injuries, there’s no escape from that. My injuries were a huge hindrance throughout my whole camp, though. I was stubborn and said we would do it anyway, I said it was going to work,” she said, while also stating that she had a “broken training camp.”
Peña had the chance to respond to Nunes’ statements when recently asked about it by KREM, a local media outlet in her hometown of Spokane, Washington. According to her, many people are still doubting the legitimacy of her victory that night.
“They got every excuse in the book for why I won. And so, my whole premise behind wanting to do the rematch was just to solidify that I am here to stay. That this is my time, this is my era. The Amanda era is done. It’s the Julianna Peña era now,” Peña said.
“I’ve had two knee surgeries, one on each knee. I’ve never used me getting choked unconscious, I was like, ‘Oh, it was because of my knees.’
“You gotta say whatever you can to motivate yourself and to pump yourself up and to sleep at night so that you can say, ‘Yes, it was my knees, and next time, I’m gonna get it done.’
“You gotta say whatever you gotta say, and I understand that.”
As the current champion, Peña isn’t planning to go anywhere, especially after experiencing everything that comes with being at the top.
“It’s my life’s work. This is what I’ve been doing for the last 13 years. It wasn’t to be at the bottom of the list, it was to be at the top of the mountain.
“Things look different at the top of the mountain, and my job is to make sure that anybody trying to climb up gets kicked off.”
Peña and Nunes are the opposing coaches for the ongoing 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter. They are scheduled for a rematch at UFC 277 on July 30th in Dallas.
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