On This Day One Year Ago…
[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 3, 2020, 1:34 PM]
Bantamweight contender Julianna Peña will be competing against Germaine de Randamie tonight at UFC on ESPN 16 in a fight that has major implications on the title picture at 135. Reigning champion Amanda Nunes has ruled over the division now for four years, but she added a featherweight championship to her responsibilities at the end of 2018, which has contributed to her being a less active bantamweight champion. This fact has not escaped Julianna Peña, who believes that if Nunes does not defend the belt soon, she should relinquish the championship.
“Listen, I have respect for all of these women in the division. Of course, I have respect for the champion,” Peña said at UFC on ESPN 16 media day. “But one thing that I see happen all the time is if you don’t fight for your belt in a year, then you gotta give it up. And if she doesn’t fight for the belt at 135 pounds, it’s time to give it up and let someone else have a try.”
Julianna Peña’s Goal Remains The Same
Amanda Nunes’s last title defense came in December of last year with a shutout decision victory over Peña’s opponent tonight, Germaine de Randamie. This would leave Nunes two months to defend her title if Peña’s recommendation comes to pass. And if Nunes did vacate the bantamweight championship, Peña would not feel cheated by not having a crack at the consensus greatest WMMA fighter of all time, as her primary goal has no face attached to it.
“If she doesn’t want to fight me, then that’s fine,” Pena said. “It seems like she’s been picking most of her fights. And that’s her right as a champion, but my job is to keep my eyes on the prize. And for me, that has always been fighting for the belt and getting that 12 pounds of gold strapped around my waist. And that’s the only thing that I see. That’s my goal, and I’m not gonna stop until I get there.”
There is a strong chance that with a victory tonight over Germaine de Randamie, Peña will have an opportunity to reach her goal in her next bout and give Nunes the fresh challenge she’s been deprived of.
What do you make of Julianna Peña’s comments about bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes?