Raquel Pennington explains why it’s “not fair” that Kayla Harrison could fight her after UFC 300

By Josh Evanoff - March 19, 2024

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Raquel Pennington would rather not fight Kayla Harrison next.

Raquel Pennington

The former PFL tournament winner is set to make her promotional debut at UFC 300 next month. There, Kayla Harrison will meet former champion Holly Holm, in one of the key bouts on the milestone card. If there’s one woman who will be watching the bout closely, it will be the current women’s bantamweight titleholder, Raquel Pennington.

‘Rocky’ famously won the gold with a unanimous decision victory over Mayra Bueno Silva at UFC 297 in January. Following the win, Raquel Pennington called for a bout with former champion, Julianna Pena. However, most of the talk around the title has instead shifted to Kayla Harrison vs. Holly Holm. Both women have discussed their hopes to fight for gold with a win next month.

However, Raquel Pennington has to provide a little pushback on a potential Kayla Harrison title shot. Speaking in a recent interview with LowKick MMA, the champion discussed the signing of the former PFL tournament winner. There, Pennington admitted that she would still much rather fight Pena, over Harrison next.

The reasoning is simple. With a win over Holly Holm, Kayla Harrison would still only have one fight inside the promotion. In Raquel Pennington’s view, the former Olympic Judoka would be skipping the line to fight for the title with just a single bout in the promotion. Still, she knows that’s what might happen.


Raquel Pennington, Mayra Bueno Silva, UFC 297, Results, Pros react

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Raquel Pennington discusses Kayla Harrison

“In my mind it’s Julianna Pena. That’s what me and my team are preparing for, and it makes sense.” Raquel Pennington stated in the interview when asked who she wants to defend her UFC title against next. “It’s tough because the UFC does business how they want to do business. Obviously, you have Kayla Harrison who just signed to the UFC. They do have a habit of when someone has a big name, they like to fast track them.”

She continued, “So I wouldn’t be surprised after UFC 300 next month if Kayla wins, if a phone call is a lot different after that fight. But we’ll see. For me, I think it’s Julianna. Just from having to grind from the bottom up, never being handed anything, there’s a lot of women in this division who have been busting their ass for years and years. They’re wanting opportunities, I do not find it fair.”

“I get the business aspect of it. But I do not find it fair when an athlete comes in and just because they have a big name, they get to skip the line.” Raquel Pennington concluded her thoughts on Kayla Harrison. “But, I’m not opposed to fighting anybody. I love the challenges out there.”

What do you make of these comments? Do you believe Kayla Harrison should fight Raquel Pennington with a win at UFC 300?