Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Julianna Peña Wants Attention To Shift From Title Win To Nunes Rematch

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julianna Peña is hoping to turn the attention to her first title defense following her incredible crowning at UFC 269 last month.

Despite being over a month removed from her gold-winning performance at the final pay-per-view of 2021, talk of Peña’s upset win in Las Vegas has barely died down. At UFC 269, she was tasked with ending the 12-fight win streak of then-two-division titleholder Amanda Nunes, and with becoming the first woman to defeat the Brazilian since 2014.

On paper? A difficult, if not impossible, task. In reality? A task Peña expected to complete.

With the majority of fans and pundits not giving her a chance, “The Venezuelan Vixen” entered the Octagon and delivered the performance of a lifetime. After escaping the opening round, Peña turned the heat up on a fatigued and visibly wobbly “Lioness.”

After rocking Nunes on the feet, Peña dragged her to the mat and submitted her, leaving the commentators, fans in attendance, and MMA community in shock. But one person without any surprise on her face was the newly-crowned 135-pound queen.

Peña: “I Just Wanna Talk About Moving Forward”

Given the feat Peña achieved, one that is widely considered the greatest upset in UFC history, it’s no surprise that questions about her reaction to the result and thoughts on becoming champion are still ever-present in her interviews.

However, Peña wants talk to turn to her next step; defending the gold for the first time in a rematch against Nunes.

In an interview with Caroline Pearce for BT Sport, the champion suggested she’s keen to move forward and focus on the first challenge to her reign, which will come after a stint coaching this year’s season of The Ultimate Fighter alongside the “Lioness.”

“I feel exactly the same. I expected to win that night. I expect to win in the future. It was what I expected from myself, so it wasn’t a surprise to me. I just wanna talk about moving forward, what’s gonna happen, and getting this rematch underneath my belt… I would love to stay active.”

After Peña’s memorable triumph at UFC 269, both her and UFC President Dana White wasted little time in confirming the planned next step. At the post-fight press conference, White said Nunes would certainly be offered an immediate chance at redemption, something the Brazilian welcomed with open arms.

With the inevitable back and forth that comes with a TUF season, it stands to reason their second clash will be a fiery affair.

Having been the consensus female fighter of the year in 2021, Peña will look to create a similarly successful 2022, which will need to start with a second victory over the woman most regard as the greatest female fighter of all time.

Do you think Julianna Peña can defeat Amanda Nunes for a second time when they meet for a rematch later this year?

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