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Julianna Pena: Amanda Nunes trilogy is ‘biggest women’s MMA fight in history’ and ‘only fight that makes sense’

UFC 277: Pena v Nunes 2 Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Julianna Pena will get another shot at catching lightning in a bottle.

It was announced this past weekend (April 7, 2023) that the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight titleholder, Pena, will run things back for a third consecutive time against the dual-division champion, Amanda Nunes, at UFC 289 on June 10, 2023, in Vancouver, Canada. Pena first defeated Nunes in incredible upset fashion in Dec. 2021, submitting “The Lionness” via a second-round rear-naked choke (watch highlights). In July 2022, the all-time great Nunes scored redemption, dominating “The Venezuelan Vixen” en route to a unanimous decision (watch highlights).

Many within the community expected the promotion to move on to a new challenger for Nunes after the one-sided nature of the Pena rematch. Mexico’s Irene Aldana was briefly linked to challenge Nunes, but things never came to fruition.

“This has always been the fight,” Pena told The MMA Hour. “This has always been the fight that I’ve wanted. There’s no surprise on my end. I said that I was gonna fight her, I said there was gonna be a trilogy fight and that was the only fight that makes sense. It’s the only fight that does make sense.

“She was always telling me that I was unworthy of fighting her and that I had to go win one more and win one more in order to fight her,” she continued. “She tried to do that same thing and in this same case, she said I had to go fight Irene in order to fight for the belt against her again and win. I don’t know how Irene comes up in this conversation at all. We’re 1-1. This is the biggest women’s mixed martial arts fight in history. It’s a trilogy fight, it’s a ‘Rocky’ story. I think the UFC knows that. They know how to do business. They know how to do big business and make big fights.”

While Nunes recaptured the Bantamweight title by defeating Pena this past year, she also still holds onto the Featherweight crown. No movement has been made at 145 pounds in terms of contenders, but at Bantamweight, the aforementioned Aldana is now linked to a possible rematch with Raquel Pennington. The winner of that bout would presumably be an undeniable next option for a 135-pound title shot.

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