While UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was thrust into the public spotlight when she defeated former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in just 48 seconds at UFC 207, top ranked women’s bantamweight Julianna Pena believes that there was a void left behind by Rousey. A void she intends to fill.
Ahead of her ‘UFC Fight Night: Denver’ headlining scrap against Valentina Shevchenko this Saturday, Julianna Pena spoke to MMAJunkie to explain how we have entered into a new era of WMMA, and why she is the person who will take over the top spot:
“There’s more than one girl MMA fighter out there.”
“It’s a new era now, and I’m ready to take over that spot – the new era of girls who are tough as (expletive) and ready to put it on the line and fight whoever and wherever at any time.”
While Pena has no shortage on confidence, she recognizes that no one is unbeatable, and being humble is extremely important:
“When you’re doing good, it’s always a check for yourself to be a good person and do right by people and not screw people over and to think that you’re holier than thou,” Pena said. “At one point, Ronda claimed I didn’t deserve to breathe the same air as Shayna Baszler, and I’ve just always made a point never to think I’m better than any other person.”
Pena of course will be riding a 4-fight win streak into the bout. After winning The Ultimate Fighter season 18 in 2013, she was sidelined for two years win injuries as the result of an incident in training. When she returned to the Octagon in April of 2015, it took the Venezuelan Vixen just under 4 minutes to TKO Milana Dudieva. Following that, Nunes has racked up two more wins as she has picked up unanimous decisions over Jessica Eye and most recently Cat Zingano.
Only time will tell if she’s able to move one step closer to a title fight this Saturday when she faces Shevchenko.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/24/2017.