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UFC 277 preview: Julianna Pena already ‘champ champ’ because featherweight is ‘a division of no one’

Factor in the TUF 18 trophy and that also makes Pena the promotion’s latest “Triple C.”

UFC 277 Press Conference Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Julianna Pena turned the mixed martial arts (MMA) community on its head by scoring a bookie-busting upset over Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 last December, a second-round submission finish that awarded “The Venezuelan Vixen” the women’s bantamweight title.

And in theory, the women’s featherweight title.

Probably because the 145-pound weight class, created to give former champion Cris Cyborg a place to compete, is a barren wasteland save for the occasional bantamweight who simply skips their weight cut for a chance to pull the sword from the proverbial stone.

LIVE! Watch UFC 277 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on Sat., July 30, 2022, for the first time in almost four years, headlined by a thrilling women’s Bantamweight championship rematch between division queenpin, Julianna Peña, attempt her first successful title defense against former titleholder and current women’s Featherweight champion, Amanda Nunes. In UFC 277’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, an interim Flyweight champion will be crowned when former titleholder, Brandon Moreno, runs it back with Kai Kara-France.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“There’s nobody in the division, there’s really not,” Pena said during the UFC 277 media day. “It’s a division of who? Amanda? Who else? All the girls that have fought at 145 just went up in weight so they could have a shot at the belt, because they couldn’t get it done at 135. It’s a division of literally no one. To me, it’s primarily people that either can’t make 135 or just don’t want to cut the weight. The real fights are at 135. I’m already a champ-champ.”

The promotion does not include the women's 145-pound division in its weekly rankings update because there are not enough competitors to fill all 15 slots. The last two legitimate featherweights to challenge Nunes — Felicia Spencer and Megan Anderson — have recently retired from MMA.

And “Cyborg” has since defected to Bellator MMA.

Pena will have the opportunity to go up two-zip on Nunes when they run it back for the women’s bantamweight title in the UFC 277 five-round pay-per-view (PPV) headliner this Sat. night (July 30, 2022) inside American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, which marks the second-to-last PPV fight card before this upcoming price increase.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 277 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 ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 277: “Pena vs. Nunes 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the complete UFC 277 fight card and PPV lineup click here.