Julianna Peña ‘wanted to storm the cage’ at UFC 289 but chose to ‘be classy’ instead

Former UFC champion Julianna Peña says she 'had the urge' to storm the cage at UFC 289 as Amanda Nunes announced her retirement.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 4 months ago
Julianna Peña ‘wanted to storm the cage’ at UFC 289 but chose to ‘be classy’ instead
Julianna Peña at the UFC 277 presser. IMAGO | Zuma

UFC 289 wasn’t a happy night for former champion Julianna Peña. “The Venezuelan Vixen” bore witness to the retirement of rival Amanda Nunes, which ultimately killed the chances of a trilogy. 

Peña appeared on the MMA Hour on Monday where she revealed almost storming the cage as “The Lioness” announced her retirement

Julianna Peña almost stormed the cage at UFC 289

Peña didn’t hide her frustrations about Nunes’ retirement right after the UFC 289 fight. And as she told Ariel Helwani, she almost stormed the cage to possibly steal the spotlight from the double-champ. 

“There was a part of me that really wanted to storm the cage. I had so many people that were, like, ‘Yes, we’ll do it. We’ll throw you over the gate.’ But then my coach was like, ‘Don’t do it. Be classy and don’t do it.’ 

Instead of storming the cage, this is what Peña did when Nunes announced her retirement at UFC 289, yelling obscenities and insults at her from cage-side:

Now that Nunes has called it a career, Julianna Peña said she allowed her rival to have “my moment,” and claimed she’s ready to move on.

“I let her have my moment, but it was really difficult for me because there was so many times where the urge was to go. Like, now’s the time. Go, go, go. Now’s the time.” 

“At the end of the day, she’s retired, she’s off into the sunset. She’s dead to me at this point. And we just gotta keep the division moving.” 

The Julianna Peña ‘Power Era’

Now that the UFC’s women’s bantamweight title is about to be up for grabs again, Julianna Peña is dead set on reclaiming the title she once held. Although she only had the title briefly, in her mind, the championship never left her side. 

“Now we’re stepping into day one of the Peña Power Era. I’m a synthetic champ. I’ve always been a champion in my heart and in my head all the time. 

“I wake up everyday, like, ‘Good morning, champ. You look good.’ So it’s just a matter of time before the belt’s around my waist again.” 

Things have turned personal between Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes

From her end, Nunes had some words for her former challenger. In her post-fight interview with Megan Olivi, she revealed almost foregoing her retirement plan if Julianna Peña hadn’t pulled out and fought at UFC 289 as planned.  

“If it was Julianna, I wouldn’t retire tonight. She’s not an opponent that I want to retire against. And I fought her before. I want to retire (against) somebody that I never fought before. 

“Tonight was a perfect night. And when everything changed for this fight, I looked at Nina, like, this is the time. This is meant to be. The right opponent, the right place, and tonight was the night to really go for good.” 

The 35-year-old Nunes left the sport with a record of 23-5 after defeating Irene Aldana via decision, marking her sixth successful title defense as the UFC’s women’s bantamweight queen.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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