Peña’s pursuit of leaving something major behind following her career’s close took a sizable step forward last December when she joined an exclusive club of fighters who’ve held gold on MMA’s biggest stage.
Not only did “The Venezuelan Vixen” win a UFC title, but she did so against odds considered by many to be insurmountable pre-UFC 269. Against Amanda Nunes, who ruled over two weight classes prior to 2021’s final pay-per-view and was unbeaten since 2014, Peña proved her many detractors wrong courtesy of a second-round submission.
Having ascended the bantamweight mountain and begun what she hopes to be a lengthy and illustrious reign, Peña is looking ahead to how she can secure a memorable legacy in her Octagon tenure.
While her desire to be an inspiration for her daughter has been a constant theme pre and post-championship crowning, Peña is hoping to motivate children from all over the United States.
During an interview with Helen Yee, “The Venezuelan Vixen” recalled doing book reports on athletes like Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson as a child. For Peña, having youngsters choose to do the same with her down the line, coupled with a UFC Hall of Fame induction, would be the perfect legacy.
“My legacy can be remembered if little boys and girls across the country are doing book reports on me as their favorite athlete,” Peña said. “I remember me doing book reports on Michael Jordan and all my favorite athletes, like Mike Tyson; kinda getting their background story.
“It would be cool for me to one day be in the UFC Hall of Fame and little kids doing their book reports one me as their favorite athlete. That, to me, would be a legacy,” Peña concluded.
The bantamweight queen has the chance to move closer to accomplishing her goals tonight when she shares the Octagon with Nunes for the second time at UFC 277.
Having suggested that she won’t be satisfied as champion until she defends the belt, Peña will be looking to put an exclamation point on both her rivalry with the “Lioness” and rule over the 135-pound division in Dallas, Texas.
How do you think Julianna Peña’s legacy will be remembered?