The women’s featherweight and now two-time bantamweight champion reclaimed her belt from Peña in the main event of UFC 277 in Dallas, Texas.
Peña’s submission victory over Nunes at UFC 269 last year was one of the more significant upsets in MMA history, and many wondered heading into the rematch if “The Lioness” was still motivated to compete.
The 34-year-old silenced any doubts about her mindset with a lopsided unanimous decision win, and at the event’s post-fight press conference, Nunes commented on her performance.
“I know Julianna is tough,” Nunes said. “I know, I was ready for that. I could have finished her. But I wanna go 5 rounds with her tonight, to prove I was better than her.”
“I’m Better Than Her In Every Way”
Aside from knocking Peña down several times, Nunes appeared closest to ending the fight with a rear-naked choke attempt late in the fight.
Peña was already bleeding significantly by that point, and Nunes said she was comfortable giving up on the submission attempt given how she had already dominated “The Venezuelan Vixen”.
“(Julianna) was very slippery, too. I think the blood as well, and I wouldn’t be able to get a good finish in. And when I went to the rear-naked choke it was slippery too, she was defending as well of course.
“But at that point, I say ‘You know what? I’m just gonna prove I’m better than her in every way right now. I’m gonna just hang out here.’ She tried to finish it. I couldn’t let it all go, you know? She did everything she could, but I’m better than her. I proved it tonight.”
There was plenty of bad blood between the pair in the lead up to their rematch, and they also appeared as opposing coaches on the 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
With her status as UFC bantamweight champion restored, “The Lioness” is once against the queen both the women’s bantamweight and featherweight divisions.
What do you make of Nunes’ claim that she could have finished Peña but wanted the fight to go the distance to prove a point?