Leading into the final pay-per-view of 2021, Peña was seen by most as little more than the latest prey for a “Lioness” who’d dominated everyone before her for years. With perhaps the most surprising upset in UFC history, that narrative came crumpling down courtesy of a second-round submission victory for “The Venezuelan Vixen.”
Now five months beyond her memorable title crowning, Peña is preparing for her first defense, and it’ll come against the woman she dethroned at UFC 269. But despite her performance in December, the 135-pound queen is still feeling disrespected.
Peña: “I’m Gonna Do The Exact Same Thing”
During a recent appearance on My Mom’s Basement with Robbie Fox, Peña discussed the reaction to her memorable victory, which ended Nunes’ thought-to-be unstoppable two-division rule.
As well as by fan perception, the champ feels disrespected by how Nunes has changed her tune post-fight. Despite appearing to accept the loss immediately after, the Brazilian has attempted to lessen Peña’s accomplishment since, something that doesn’t sit well with “The Venezuelan Vixen.”
“Everybody says that it was a fluke, and she had her knees hurt, and she had a bad night,” said Peña. “She was very gracious in defeat, but then turned around and said, ‘No, that didn’t happen, you’re not really the champion.’ She just can’t accept it because now all these excuses are pouring out.”
Believing that Nunes’ opinion is shared across the MMA community, Peña is fully expecting to enter their rematch as an underdog again, and with many of her previous detractors ready to doubt her once more.
But Peña warned them that she plans on repeating the exact feat she did at UFC 269, so best get on the champion’s bandwagon second time around.
“I bet you anything I’ll still be the underdog in the rematch, and I bet you everyone’s still gonna count me out. A lot of people are,” acknowledged Peña. “That’s why I am doing this. I’m doing it to say you have to accept this… People think it was a fluke. They think she had a bad night.
“(At UFC 269) I did exactly everything that I said I was going to do, and everyone said I was crazy, and no one believed me. So, now I gotta go do it again, and I’m gonna tell you again, I’m gonna do the same exact thing,” insisted Peña. “If you didn’t believe me back then, and you didn’t believe me after that dominating win, then you’re gonna have to believe me the second time.”
The pair are set to run it back following this year’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter. When they do, Peña will look to bring out her ‘I told you so banner’ for the second time in as many calendar years.
How do you think he rematch between Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes will play out?