Less than a year ago, Peña shocked the world by ending the lengthy two-division rule of Nunes, who was unbeaten since 2014 and riding a 12-fight win streak at the time. After a buildup that was largely filled with doubt and detraction, “The Venezuelan Vixen” proved many wrong by submitting the “Lioness” in the UFC 269 co-main event.
Fast forward to today and Nunes is back on the 135-pound throne, boasting titles on each shoulder. The Brazilian returned to that champ-champ status with a five-round domination at UFC 277 this past July.
In the immediate aftermath of her main event defeat, Peña made her intentions clear — shock the world once again in a trilogy fight with Nunes.
But not everyone is onboard with that plan.
That includes former two-division champion Cormier, who questioned whether Peña is deserving of an immediate shot at redemption during an episode of ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show.
“The work hasn’t warranted an immediate rematch,” Cormier said. “Because if not, then every champion that loses gets an immediate rematch. It’s not like that. It just doesn’t work that way. Amanda got an immediate rematch, because she’s Amanda Nunes. José Aldo didn’t get an immediate rematch (against Conor McGregor), and he was the longest-reigning featherweight champion of all time.
“Sometimes you’ve got to move on to get back. I think Julianna’s in that position. I don’t know if the work that she’s put on paper warrants (it). Just because she survived in the last match, I think she might have lost every single round of that fight,” Cormier added. (h/t MMA Junkie)
Not one to remain silent when her credentials come into question, Peña was quick to respond after seeing the UFC Hall of Famer’s comments.
Peña Reminds Cormier Of His Own 1-1 Situation
On Twitter, one user criticized Cormier’s take by making note of the former light heavyweight and heavyweight’s own trilogy series with Stipe Miocic.
Before retiring in 2020, three of Cormier’s final four professional fights came against the heavyweight great. After dethroning him via knockout in their first meeting, becoming a simultaneous two-division titleholder in the process, “DC” was stopped in the fourth round when they ran it back a year later.
Completing their feud at UFC 252, Cormier fell short across five rounds in an immediate rematch with Miocic. That, the user suggested, is the same scenario that Nunes and Peña’s rivalry is in.
“The Venezuelan Vixen” herself was quick to support that view, questioning why she isn’t deserving of the chance to regain the belt but Cormier was a couple of years ago.
Unfortunately for Peña, the consensus fan view may well be in Cormier’s favor. In an MMA News poll post-UFC 277, 85% of responding fans backed a third fight with Valentina Shevchenko as the next step for Nunes.
However, with talk of that bout becoming somewhat non-existent as of late, as well as the recent booking of Ketlen Vieira vs. Raquel Pennington, perhaps Peña will get her shot after all.
Who do you agree with, Julianna Peña or Daniel Cormier?