Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently announced the booking of a women’s Bantamweight title fight between division queen Amanda Nunes and top contender Raquel Pennington, set to headline UFC 224 on May 12, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, putting a much-desired super fight between “Lioness” and Featherweight titleholder Cris Cyborg on hold — and at risk of never happening.
But if you ask “Rocky,” Cris should have never been in the picture to begin with, as the 135-pound title shot is something she earned long ago.
“It was supposed to be set in stone before Cyborg fought. There was a little frustration due to that,” said Pennington on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. “But after I reached out to UFC, it was just Dana making his comment at the press conference, and everybody said it was news to them. But right after that I eventually got my contract sent to me. So it was locked in, then officially announced,” she added.
“I’ve been a lot through my career, and regardless, my ultimate goal is to get that belt. Whether I have to detour a little bit more, nobody is going to stop me. It did get a little frustrating because it had been in talks, so I was making calls because I didn’t find it very fair at all. I think I definitely earned this spot and the fight deserved to be mine. So the fact that they simply wanted to do a super fight really pissed me off given the fact that Cyborg is in a completely different division and you’re trying to take the champ from our division for a super fight. You just want a girl with another name? Two Brazilians. What’s happening here?”
Eventually, common sense prevailed and the promotion announced the matchup a few days after Cris revealed she had no interest in fighting in May. Still, the fearsome striker is keen on facing Nunes down the road if she manages to hold on to her 135-pound strap.
But if Pennington -- who is currently riding a four fight win streak and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2015, a split decision loss to Holly Holm — plays the role of spoiler, then that fight could eventually go to her.
And she’s all for it, though she won’t beg for it
“I don’t really care, everyone brings a different challenge. She’s the most dangerous woman on the planet, hasn’t lost since 2005 and has been destroying girls,” she said. “She has the 145-pound division and to me, I don’t like to take credit where it’s due, everyone deserves their position, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since they’re not bringing in any athletes. Cyborg is just another female. Yeah she is is heavier, I walk around heavier normally. So it wouldn’t be something I push to the side. I am more than definitely willing to go out there and fight her one day.”