At the final pay-per-view of 2021, Peña closed out the year by providing one of its most memorable moments. Prior to the event, “The Venezuelan Vixen” carried an air of confidence that has never been synonymous with opponents of Nunes, who was undefeated since 2014 at the time and reigned over both the 135 and 145-pound weight classes.
Having been branded delusional by most, including the “Lioness,” Peña set out to prove herself right and her doubters wrong. In about as impressive fashion as she could, she did just that.
After surviving the opening round, Peña brought a look out of Nunes that no one has managed to do since Cat Zingano eight years ago. After tiring the Brazilian out in a wild battle on the feet, Peña dragged her to the ground and submitted her.
According to the new champ, Nunes got “exposed” at UFC 269.
Rogan: Peña Showed What Is Possible
The result was an upset felt around the world. From casual fans and hardcore fans to fighters and pundits, very few had seen it coming. That’s what made it arguably the biggest shock in UFC history.
One man who recognized the momentous nature of the win was Joe Rogan. From his cageside seat, the renowned podcast host had a front-row view for what transpired. In his mind, the fight not only changed the landscape of the division and the promotion but the entire world.
“It was almost like the world changed,” Rogan said while hosting Peña on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. “The whole world changed. Like, what is not possible is now possible.”
Whilst the UFC 269 co-main event brought the MMA community one of the most memorable underdog triumphs the sport has ever seen, Rogan believes the fight itself also boasted everything required to make it a classic.
The 54-year-old told the newly-crowned champion that her effort that night in Las Vegas created everything he and the rest of the fanbase would ever want from a matchup inside the Octagon.
“That was one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. In terms of, what do you want out of a fight? You want to be completely immersed,” added Rogan. “The world goes away. All you’re thinking about is what’s happening right in front of you. And because of your effort, because of what you accomplished that night, you changed the way people think about what’s possible and not possible. That’s everything we want from a fight. Everything.
“You were the underdog, you came in, you were counted out by so many people, you fought the greatest of all time, and you fucked her up. And the way you did it, the whole world—everybody that watched that was like, ‘Holy shit.’ The world is a different place now.”
Having ascended the 135-pound mountaintop, the next step for Peña will be to further tighten her hold on the belt by adding another blemish to Nunes’ record when they collide for their expected rematch later his year.
But even if she is unable to do so, nobody will be able to take away her accomplishment and the incredible feat she achieved on December 11.
What was your reaction when Julianna Peña ended the two-division dominance of Amanda Nunes at UFC 269?