Monday, August 8, 2022

Peña Critiques Nunes’ Trash-Talking Attempts: I Can’t Hear You

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julianna Peña has lifted the lid on one of the reasons why the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter didn’t get as heated as previous editions.

On Saturday, Peña will look to repeat a feat that few expected her to accomplish last December, and that’s slay the consensus female GOAT once more. Last time out, “The Venezuelan Vixen” entered UFC 269 as a doubted challenger who most predicted would be comfortably dispatched in Las Vegas.

Now, ahead of the pair’s rematch at UFC 277 this weekend, Peña has arrived in Dallas off the back of a period that’s seen her embrace championship status with media appearances and interviews. She even had the opportunity to return to where it all began — TUF.

Julianna Peña, Amanda Nunes
Image Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

In the lead-up to the second dance, which is set to headline Saturday’s pay-per-view in Dallas, Peña and Nunes featured as coaches on this year’s iteration of reality series TUF. While the season became well known for its coach clashes during its early days, the latest pairing certainly didn’t deliver a particularly animosity-fueled set of episodes.

As it turns out, there may well be good reason for that…

Peña: ‘If You Have Something To Say, Just Say It’

During her appearance at UFC 277 media day on Wednesday, Peña was alerted to some comments made by Nunes earlier in the day. The Brazilian said that she came to the conclusion on TUF that her upcoming opponent is “weird,” and recalled the champ always attempting to avoid interaction during the show.

In response, Peña firmly dismissed the notion that she would duck confrontation. Explaining the absence of it during the season, “The Venezuelan Vixen” claimed that it took her until after filming to notice Nunes’ trash-talking attempts, which she insisted the featherweight titleholder said “under her breath.”

“I didn’t realize that she was ‘talking trash’ until episode one aired and they had to subtitle it, and it was such low volume that nobody could hear it,” Peña said. “Like, if she wanted to say something to me, if she had something to say, I was right there. But I didn’t hear anything she had to say. I guess she was trying to poke at me, but like, it didn’t work. She didn’t do a very good job.

“There’s some people that don’t like confrontation, I’m not one of those people, okay. You want confrontation? You’re gonna get it outta me. If there was confrontation coming on her end, I had no idea because she was saying it under her breath,” Peña added. “It’s like, don’t be scared, I’m right here. If you have something to say, just say it.”

In the past, Peña has explained her lack of trash-talking on the season as down to the fact she felt “bad for the poor girl” after learning that Nunes was referred to a sports psychologist following UFC 269.

While the pair will have another chance to go back and forth at Thursday’s UFC 277 press conference, the time for talking is nearly over. When it is, both women will be targeting separate goals.

For Peña, Saturday’s headliner represents the chance to further legitimize her bantamweight reign and fully dismiss those who claim that her UFC 269 win was a fluke. On the opposite side of the Octagon, Nunes will be looking to prove that her rival’s style isn’t a wall she can’t break through by regaining champ-champ status.

Who do you think will emerge victorious in the UFC 277 main event, Julianna Peña or Amanda Nunes?

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