According to Julianna Pena, she’s never been one to talk trash.
The reigning women’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight champion recently wrapped up a stint on The Ultimate Fighter 30 (TUF) as a coach opposite her rival and fellow titleholder, Amanda Nunes. Set to run things back at UFC 277 on July 30, 2022, in Dallas, Texas, the pair was subjected to seeing each other on a regular basis as part of the long-standing hit reality television series.
From Nunes’ perspective, it came as a “surprise” how little banter was directed her way from the “Venezuelan Vixen” throughout the season. Responding to the comments, Pena has her reasons for being less vocal than she was heading into their first encounter.
“She considers what I was doing or saying s—t talk but to me, I wasn’t,” Pena told MMA Mania. “I was legitimately telling my truth of everything that has happened to me in my career. When I said that she promised to fight me at UFC 200 and that this fight has been brewing for five years, like she might view that as crap talk but that’s legitimately what happened in my career when she said that she would fight me and then chose to fight somebody else and chose to fight somebody else and chose to fight somebody else, multiple times. That’s not me s—t talking, that’s just me bringing to light what has happened to me and my career. So she was saying that I was s—t talking but it was like everything I was saying was actually a fact and something that has been factual for me and my career and the way that it’s played out for me. So, I wasn’t talking s—t, it was just my truth.”
In Dec. 2021, Pena challenged Nunes for the Bantamweight crown at UFC 269. Originally, the opportunity was earned under unique circumstances as Pena was matched with Holly Holm earlier in the year until injury forced Holm from the match up, resulting in Pena challenging Nunes.
How she got there didn’t matter in the end, as Pena pulled off one of the greatest upsets in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. After a turbulent opening round, Pena put her foot on the gas pedal in the following round and came right at “The Lionness,” battering her on the feet in wild exchanges before submitting her with a rear-naked choke on the ground (watch highlights).
The loss snapped Nunes’ 12-fight win streak and was her first setback in seven years. With all things considered, Pena thinks her actions have spoken for themselves.
“All the other stuff that she said, like, oh, I didn’t s—t talk and I was trying to get people to want to like me or something like that, I’m like, no, I’ve done the show before so I kinda know how the production goes,” Pena said. “But with that being said, I already beat you. You hadn’t been submitted, you hadn’t been stopped, you had this title reign of the G.O.A.T. and you got embarrassed, and you got so frustrated that you fired your entire team. You quit your gym that you’d been at for 10 years. You had to go see a sport psychologist. Like, why kick a dog when it’s down? That’s just not my style, that’s not my character, and I already know how much it hurt her. I’m not trying to pour salt on the wounds. She wants me to burn the church down too, it’s like it’s good, you know what I mean? I already did my trash-talking in the ring. There’s nothing really more for me to say.
“Not to mention if you watch the season, I’m killin’ her!” she continued. “They can’t string a couple wins together to save their lives, she’s just literally not winning on the show either. What more do you want me to say? I feel bad. Not to say I’m going to hold back by any means in the rematch but it’s just [that] I don’t want to be this cocky arrogant prick, that I’m just constantly poking you while you’re down. That’s just not who I am. Most people would be thankful but she wants me to razz her.”
Who wins the rematch?
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