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Aspen Ladd targets UFC return by March, ‘wants to fight Julianna Pena really bad’

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UFC Fight Night: Ladd v Kunitskaya Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight contender Aspen Ladd, currently ranked No. 3 at 135 pounds, was taken out of action earlier this year after suffering a devastating knee injury, one that scratched her UFC on ESPN 12 fight against Sara McMann.

So how long before Ladd makes her Octagon return?

“My guess is you’re probably gonna see Aspen fight sometime around the end of February, the beginning of March,” head coach Jim West told MMA Junkie Radio. “She started boxing, I held pads for her maybe two weeks ago for the first time so she was kinda able to move a little bit. So she’s making progress quite nicely.”

Ladd (9-1) is 4-1 since crossing over from Invicta FC back in late 2017, with three of her four wins coming by way of technical knockout. That’s includes her destruction of Yana Kunitskaya at the UFC on ESPN 7 event last December.

And it sounds like she wants to settle an old score.

“Aspen wants to fight Julianna Pena really bad,” West continued. “They were supposed to fight several times, and we’re gonna get that fight at some point, or maybe Raquel Pennington. I don’t know what Raquel is doing at that time, but Julianna is on Aspen’s radar.”

Ladd was scheduled to fight the No. 6-ranked Pena at UFC Columbus last March until “The Venezuelan Vixen” was bounced with an undisclosed injury.