On January 28, the UFC will return to Fox with an exciting card. This card will be headlined by a women’s bantamweight contender bout between TUF winner Julianna Peña and Kyrgyzstani striker Valentina Shevchenko.
In advance of this high-stakes fight, which is likely to produce the next challenger for champion Amanda Nunes, Peña says that she hopes fans are grateful that she accepted the fight, as she believes she’d already be scheduled for a title shot if she’d opted to wait rather than stay active. Peña explained this feeling in an interview with BloodyElbow.com.
“I think this fight is a long time coming and this is a fight that the fans have been dying for,” she said. “It’s a fight that the fans have been chirping in my ear about nonstop and people have been telling me that I’m scared to take the fight, but it has nothing to do with that and more so the fact that I felt if I wouldn’t have fought, I probably would have been fighting for title anyways right now, if I would have just sat and waited. But that’s not the way the cookie crumbles and unfortunately the fans wanted to see me fight one more time before I fight for the belt, so I’m actually doing this fight for the fans and doing a fight which they have asked for and have requested for me for a long time now, so I hope that I make them happy and then they can be a little bit grateful for the fact I am putting it all on the line for them.”
“I definitely think I’ve been deserving of a title shot for a long time now and if I don’t get a title shot [after beating Shevchenko] then I’ll be baffled,” Peña continued. “At the end of the day, my main focus right now, and my sole focus right now, is Valentina Shevchenko and that’s it.”
Julianna Peña went on to give some insight as to how she expects her fight with Shevchenko to go down. Though she’s seen her upcoming foe struggle on the mat in the past, she says she expects to fight the best Shevchenko ever.
“I’ve seen her struggle in positions on the ground,” stated Peña. “Like, getting submissions and then letting them go and not really being too familiar with the finishes, but I know she’s working on the ground sharpening up her ground skills so I’m anticipating the best Valentina that there ever has been and that she’ll be covering all her bases as far as the wrestling and jiu jitsu goes, as I have with the stand up.”
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