For the first time since her 2019 victory over Germaine de Randamie, Nunes will be returning to bantamweight to defend her 135-pound title this weekend at the final pay-per-view of 2021. Across the last two years, the “Lioness” has successfully fended off the challenges of Felicia Spencer and Megan Anderson at featherweight.
This Saturday’s co-main event offers Nunes the chance to record her sixth defense at bantamweight, matching the tally of former champ Ronda Rousey, and her eighth overall during her reign as double champ. In her way will be Peña, a confident contender who currently sits at #3 in the rankings.
Despite a mixed record in recent years, Peña cemented her shot earlier this year, largely due to her willingness to talk trash to the champ over social media and in interviews. During a recent appearance on DC & RC, Nunes admitted her upcoming opponent’s verbal bravery is new to her.
“Honestly, just the talk. Nobody talk like Julianna. I’ve never fought nobody that talks like her. But honestly, don’t get me wrong, she’s tough, but she’s the only one who talks so much like that.”
Despite that, Nunes suggested she’s always looking to finish her opponents and show her dominance in the Octagon, whether against silent and respectful foes or loud, trash-talking rivals.
“Every time we step into the cage, we really think about finishing somebody. No matter if they talk or they be quiet. So with Julianna, it’s not different, you know. Every time that I step into the cage, I wanna really prove a point. I’m the better fighter here; I’m the best. With Julianna, I think it’s going to be the same. Any moment in this fight, I can finish her.”
Nunes: Trash-Talking Opponents Like Peña Are My Favorite
While she may boast a 25-fight professional career and has faced the likes of Shevchenko, Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Cris Cyborg, Peña appears to be bringing something unique to Nunes’ table ahead of UFC 269.
Further discussing her next challenger in an interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, the bantamweight and featherweight queen admitted that trash-talking opponents are her “favorite” to face.
“I do (enjoy trash talk)… She’s been doing very good with her mouth by the way you guys tell me. So, I feel like she’s doing the right thing. She have to do something really to get in the fight because she never was a contender. She opened her mouth and she got here. I don’t think she did anything wrong.
“I love those opponents. For me, it’s my favorite opponents, exactly like Julianna Peña. So, that really brings me, like, the best of me. I like that. It’s not that I take anything personal. It’s just that she makes me feel better, you know.”
Do you think Amanda Nunes will comfortably retain her bantamweight gold at UFC 269 this weekend?