In a year that saw Mexico’s Brandon Moreno and Brazil’s Glover Teixeira crowned as unlikely champions, it was a certain “Venezuelan Vixen” who took the cake in terms of shocking title-winning performances.
At the final pay-per-view of 2021, then-two-division UFC champion Nunes looked to extend her win streak to 13 and maintain her dominance over the 135-pound weight class.
Hoping to hand the “Lioness” her first defeat since 2014 was Peña, an outspoken and confident challenger who represented a pre-fight approach we hadn’t seen versus Nunes for some time.
While many doubted as much, The Ultimate Fighter‘s first female winner proved that her confidence was well placed by dethroning Nunes in a memorable fashion inside Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
Nunes: My Camp For Peña Was A “Mess”
Now, with her chance at redemption confirmed for later this year, the former bantamweight queen has looked back on her upset loss on December 11, and detailed the issues she thinks led to her disappointing performance.
In addition to the damage done to her training and routine by the pair’s canceled bout in August, which came after Nunes returned a positive COVID-19 test, the Brazilian has revealed she was suffering through injuries before and during her clash with “The Venezuelan Vixen.”
Those factors led to what Nunes described as a “mess” of a pre-fight camp, and ultimately a defeated performance at UFC 269.
“Honestly, I feel like it was a combination of a lot of things,” Nunes said during a recent media scrum. “You know, we were going through a lot of things before the fight, especially injuries and trying to train with injuries, all those things. I think I look back on my training camp preparing for Julianna; it was a mess. If you look back, the first fight (booking), I had Covid. I was doing good in that camp, and then I get Covid, and I have to stop; to really start over.
“Finally, I start over, I get a couple issues that I had to go through with it, but I (didn’t) wanna let that fight go again,” Nunes added. “So I thought it wouldn’t look good if I let that fight fall through one more time… I didn’t have a very good camp. That is the honest thing.”
With the pair set for a coaching stint on TUF before their intriguing rematch, Nunes will hope to make it to her chance for redemption at 100%. If she does so, Peña will certainly have a tough opening defense for her newly begun reign atop the bantamweight mountain.
Do you think Amanda Nunes will exact revenge on Julianna Peña in their rematch?