At the final pay-per-view of 2021, Peña finally had her long-awaited clash with then-two-division titleholder Amanda Nunes. Having dominantly reigned over both the bantamweight and featherweight classes for years, most expected the “Lioness” to brush “The Venezuelan Vixen” aside and add another defense to her résumé.
What transpired inside Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena couldn’t have been further from the predictions of most. After getting through the first round unscathed, the challenger put her plan into action. After hurting and tiring Nunes on the feet, Peña sent the Brazilian crashing to the mat before choking her out and taking her title.
Peña Makes Her Doubters A Guarantee
Despite executing her game plan to perfection and completing one of the greatest upsets in UFC history, some fans and pundits have questioned whether Peña beat Nunes, or if the former champion simply quit after being put into a position she hadn’t faced since 2014.
Having previously suggested Nunes had no choice but to tap out to the pressure of her choke, the newly-crowned bantamweight queen has now gone a step further. During an appearance on The Jim Rome Show, Peña challenged those doubting the UFC 269 finish to endure the choke themselves.
“It was great. That’s the second time I’ve finished (a fight with that rear-naked choke). I finished Sara McMann in January. It’s something that is not a regular rear-naked choke. I know that a lot of people want to discredit me, people wanna say that I didn’t have any hooks in and that wasn’t real and she just tapped because she quit.
“I guarantee you, and Jim, maybe one day you can take me up on this, or any of your listeners, if any of them out there want to come to my house and let me put that choke on them, I guarantee you they’re gonna tap as well and I guarantee you they’ll be able to feel that force and pressure that I was putting on Amanda.”
Having ascended the bantamweight mountaintop, the next step for Peña to further legitimize her spot on the throne will likely be a second clash with Nunes.
After UFC President Dana White confirmed the option of an immediate rematch would be made available to the former champ, the “Lioness” quickly accepted. The pair will seemingly enter the Octagon together again in the first half of 2022.
Do you think Amanda Nunes had to tap to Julianna Peña’s choke at UFC 269?