Since losing to Cat Zingano seven years ago, Amanda Nunes has gone on an unprecedented run, taking out the best the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions have to offer. In the process, she captured both titles and defeated the likes of Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg and Valentina Shevchenko (twice), among others.
That’s the reason she is undoubtedly the greatest female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter of all time, so taking her out will rub the shine right on to the person who is able to do it. For Julianna Pena — who takes on Nunes at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021 — this is the moment she’s been waiting for her entire life, saying she’s out to fulfill her championship dreams to inspire others.
“Any time you can take out the G.O.A.T., that’s just obviously the feather in the cap there,” Pena said during a recent press conference. “I truly am ready to step into the light of becoming the new Bantamweight world champion. I’m ready to be that role model for young women, for young men, just to let them know from a little, tiny garage in Spokane, Washington, you can make it. You can make your dreams come true. I’m ready to step into that light.”
Many have made those statements before only to come up short. But, Pena has said time and time again that most are defeated before they step into the cage against “Lioness.” One thing she plans on doing differently is keep things simple and not let the big moment get to her.
“I’m excited, and I’m ready. Like you said, I have been working for this my entire career.… I absolutely try to normalize it. Keep it simple, stupid. It’s just another fight at the end of the day,” she added. “If you get a belt at the end of the night, that’s cute. I don’t want to make it bigger than what it is and let the media and everything like that get to me. I just need to focus on what I do and go to work.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 269 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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