Amanda Nunes defended her Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight title this past weekend (Sat., March 6, 2021), submitting Megan Anderson in just two minutes. Soon thereafter it was announced that Anderson’s time with UFC had come to an end, leaving the women’s 145-pound division a bit more shallow.
With two straight title defenses at 145 pounds, it seems logical that Nunes will now drop down to 135 pounds to defend that title. If she doesn’t, then Julianna Pena wants “Lioness” to vacate the Bantamweight belt if she wants to keep being “fat” at Featherweight.
“Forget Holly Holm. I want to fight for the title. 135 pounds (belt) has not been defended for over a year. If you’re not going to fight, then give it up, get the eff out of here and let someone else fight for it. If she wants to stay fat at 145, do that then,” Pena said on a recent interview with Ariel Helwani before taking aim at the rest of the “lazy” women who insist on fighting at 145 pounds.
“All these girls who fight at 145 can make 135, I hope you know that. They can make the weight. They just want to be lazy and they don’t want to cut. 135 pounds is where the fights are at. No one cares about the 145-pound division; it’s dead, it’s done.
“You act like you cleaned out the division,” she continued. “You haven’t cleaned out the division. I am still here, I am still standing and I have been here this entire time.”
Part of the duties of “champ-champ” is defending both titles, and no other double champion other than Nunes has done that. She’s defended the 135-pound belt on five occasions before defending the 145-pound strap twice.
Sure, Nunes’ last title defense of the Bantamweight belt came in Dec. 2019 against Germaine de Randamie -- the woman who choked out Pena just five months ago -- but keep in mind the promotion came to a halt because of COVID-19 soon after. And when “Lioness” did return, a 145-pound title defense was due since prior to that she defended the 135-pound strap five straight times. She then took a well-deserved break to welcome her newborn baby, so it’s not like the double champion is just sitting on the title just to sit on it.
Pena, meanwhile, just recently got back in the win column with an impressive win over Sara McMann and is 2-2 in her last four appearances. While one can understand her desire to fight for the title and campaign hard for the championship fight, taking aim at Nunes for not defending the 135-pound belt seems a bit unjustified.
Nevertheless, Pena will likely get what she wants now that Holm is headed for surgery because UFC President, Dana White, recently stated he is looking at Nunes vs. Pena next. And since “Lioness” barely broke a sweat against Anderson, the fight could happen sooner rather than later.