‘I haven’t forgot’ – Julianna Peña explains bad blood with top UFC title challenger

Former UFC champion Julianna Peña has a longstanding beef with a potential opponent for the vacant women's bantamweight title.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 2 months ago

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Peña apparently has a score to settle with potential challenger Raquel Pennington. The two women were training partners under Team Miesha Tate during the 18th Ultimate Fighter edition in 2013, and the rift supposedly began during the said season. 

“The Venezuelan Vixen” is now using that longstanding bad blood as fuel for a potential match with Pennington for the now-vacant women’s 135-pound title. 

Julianna Peña addresses the media during the UFC 289 ceremonial weigh-in at Rogers Arena on June 09, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia. - ZUMAp175 20230609_zsa_p175_010 Copyright: xTomazxJrx
Julianna Pena addresses the media during the UFC 289 ceremonial weigh-in at Rogers Arena on June 09, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia. | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Julianna Peña hasn’t forgotten the TUF 18 trash talk

In her conversation with Ariel Helwani in a recent episode of the MMA Hour, Julianna Peña looked back on some of her moments with Pennington during their TUF stint. Long story short, she didn’t have many good memories with “Rocky.” 

“I’ve never forgot about how horribly she talked about me in the house, and then accused me of being a brat, because I wouldn’t go hang out with them at nighttime while they were sitting around a campfire talking crap about me.

“Like, you’re not my friend. And I found that out very quickly when we were living together for seven weeks.”

Julianna Peña describes Pennington as a teammate

Peña doesn’t have good words to say about Pennington as a teammate, either. The two were roommates at the TUF house, and according to Peña, that, too, wasn’t a very good experience. 

“She’s sleeping up above me,” Julianna Peña recalled. “Before she was eliminated from the competition, she was staying up all night until, like, three in the morning, drinking and having a good time with everybody else that was eliminated from the competition. 

“So she wouldn’t come to bed till, like, the wee hours. And then when Monday would roll around, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, every single day, we’re training two times a day, she wouldn’t come to practice. She was sleeping in, because she had stayed up the night before.

According to Peña, things would only get worse in the morning after.

“So in the morning time, because we’re the first team to go into the gym that day — we had first practices — I’m waking up to get my medicine, I’m waking up to get my bags together, I’m waking up to start my day, but she’s mad about me doing that. So then she started to say that I’m like being all loud on purpose.”

Peña prefers Pennington as an opponent

Top contender Mayra Bueno Silva entered the title picture mix when she submitted Holly Holm in the second round of their UFC Vegas headliner two weekends ago. The win put her on the number three spot and she is asking for what she believes is a much-deserved title shot. 

But for Julianna Peña, Pennington would be a more fitting opponent. 

“I think that, yeah, it is [a bigger fight], because she is on a five-fight winning streak and she’s been crying about getting a title shot since the last time that she quit on the stool. 

“So it’s about time for her to get another ass whooping, I would assume.”

Peña and Pennington’s records

Pennington (15-8) is on a five-fight win streak. Her last win happened in January via split decision against Ketlen Vieira. 

As for Peña (11-5), she hasn’t fought since her UFC 277 title rematch July 2022 against the newly-retired Amanda Nunes.

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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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