It wasn’t too long ago that Julianna Pena was knocking on the door to a women’s UFC bantamweight title shot. Things didn’t end up going her way in the Octagon in her last fight, but everything else seems to be doing awesome. She’s a regular part of Combate America’s successful fight cards doing commentary work and now she’s about to take a huge step in her life. Julianna Pena announced on her Instagram that she’s pregnant with a baby girl. However, if any of her division’s fighters think that motherhood is going to save them from a fight, then they’re wrong.
“My goal right now is to have my baby, love my baby, and get back into the Octagon. The division definitely needs me. My main goal is to rematch Valentina [Shevchenko] in my first fight back. I messed up in my last fight, I was overzealous. Having a daughter on the way not only rejuvenated me personally, it gave me so much more to fight for. I’m excited to start this new phase in my life and UFC has been so supportive of me. Dana White was stoked, he loves kids, and told me fighting will always be here waiting for me.”
— Dana White (@danawhite) January 27, 2017
“I have goals at 135 and I don’t want anyone there to think I’m ducking them. If it’s in my best interests, like an immediate title shot, then it’s worth killing myself to make 125 but honestly, I feel like I have more to prove at 135. Not just to the fans and to the UFC, but also to myself. Things are finally falling into place. I have a career in fighting, I’m still active in the gym, and above all else, I have an amazing man who takes of me. I know he’s going to be a great father and I feel really fortunate to have the things I want.” — Julianna Pena speaking to MMA Mania.
Julianna Pena was on a four-fight win streak in the UFC, complete with wins over Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano. She was the 2nd ranked women’s bantamweight fighter in the world, until Valentina Shevchenko submitted her back in January. After some maternity leave, the division and most likely her spot will still be there. As well as an entirely new division. However, it’s clear Pena has unfinished business with her former opponent, who recently was unsuccessful in her attempt to capture Amanda Nunes’ bantamweight title. Congratulations to Julianna Pena as she waits to welcome her daughter Isabella Cruz into the world.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/14/2017.