Saturday, May 28, 2022

Julianna Peña Explains Why She Doesn’t Consider Herself A Champ Yet

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Peña doesn’t consider herself a real champion just yet.

Peña finished Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 back in December via second-round submission to capture the 135-pound throne. Now, Peña will coach opposite Nunes on The Ultimate Fighter 30 on ESPN+. After which, the pair will rematch for the title, which will be Peña’s first defense of the belt.

Speaking to TMZ Sports recently, Peña discussed her current title reign and her looming rematch with Nunes. In regards to being champion, Peña still sees herself as a contender, referring to the old saying, ‘You’re not the champion until you defend the belt.’

“For me, I still feel like a contender,” Peña said. “I still feel like there’s a target on my back, and I still feel like there’s more work to be done. I’m not content with just ‘Oh you got the belt.’

“No! You’re not a champ until you defend it and until you solidify ‘This is my belt.’ So for me, I’m waking up every morning thinking ‘I still haven’t hit my goal.’ I still haven’t hit my goal yet.

“So as long as I can keep that mindset of just grinding, staying humble, just nose to the grindstone, just putting in that work, then I’ll be able to maybe confidently say, ‘Yeah, I got a leg up on her.’ But right now, I absolutely do not. I still have work to be done.”

Prior to her loss to Peña, Nunes had established herself as the most dominant force in women’s mixed martial arts (MMA) history. Nunes had amassed a 12-fight win streak, including wins over Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg, as well as a simultaneous reign as both 135-and 145-pound champion.

Now, Nunes has finished coaching the heavyweights and women’s flyweights opposite Peña on TUF 30 before finally rematching for the bantamweight throne.

Who are you picking in the rematch between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Peña? Sound off in the comments below!

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