At UFC 269, the final pay-per-view event of 2021, Nunes’ seemingly unstoppable two-division rule was brought to a crashing halt. Having remained unbeaten since 2014, had her hand raised in 12 consecutive Octagon outings, and won gold at both 135 and 145 pounds, the “Lioness” was expected by most to breeze past her final challenge of last year.
Embracing the underdog role, Peña exuded immense confidence throughout fight week. Those who branded it as delusion were left with egg on their faces come fight night when “The Venezuelan Vixen” shocked the world with a second-round submission.
While she handled the loss graciously inside Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, Nunes recently provided some context behind her loss, suggesting she’d entered the fight with injuries and off the back of a rough camp.
With that in mind, the reigning featherweight titleholder has vowed to prove she’s better than Peña when they meet for the second time later this year.
“Honestly, of course, the belt is something that all of us chase,” Nunes said in an interview with ESPN. “At this point in my life, I just want to show up 100 percent how I want to be. So with the belt, without the belt, I just want to really, really prove I’m better than her.” (h/t MMA Junkie)
It’s safe to say “The Venezuelan Vixen” disagrees with that assessment.
Peña: Nunes Got To See All My Strengths At UFC 269
During her own interview with ESPN, Peña responded to her rival’s claims. The newly-crowned champ said Nunes felt all aspects of her well-rounded game at UFC 269, and with that in mind, questioned where the Brazilian could possibly expect to have an edge.
“I think she got to see it all. We sparred on the feet, we grappled, you know, she was in dangerous positions when we were grappling,” said Peña. “She says that she wants to prove that she’s absolutely 100% better than me, but I’m like, ‘Where?’ We can grapple right here, right now if you want and I’ll show you that.
“You wanna box? We can do that, too. I’ll show you that, too. So this, ‘I can’t wait to show how much better that I am than her,’ where at? Where do you think that? I don’t think that, I don’t agree with that,” added Peña. “The beauty of fighting is we’re gonna go find out and we’re gonna get to do it all over again.”
Like Peña says, we’ll soon find out who is right. After a stint coaching this year’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter, the pair are set to run it back.
While “The Venezuelan Vixen” will be hoping to record her first successful defense and firmly establish her superiority over the consensus female MMA GOAT, the “Lioness” will be out for redemption.
Do you agree with Julianna Peña? Is she better than Amanda Nunes in all areas?