In her next fight, Raquel Pennington will challenge Amanda Nunes for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. This title fight is scheduled for UFC 224, which goes down on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Nunes’ backyard.
While Pennington will be in hostile territory for this fight, she’s not worried about being booed by the crowd in attendance in Rio. As long as she’s got her usual group of supporters, she’s fine. Besides, she’s had a Crown Royal Bottle thrown at her in a previous fight, so a little bit of booing isn’t particularly daunting anymore.
“I have a very strong support system, whether they’re with me at every single fight, but I am lucky to where I do have my close family, who does travel with me,” Pennington said on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “I do have my close friends who do travel with me, and I have a great coaching staff. That’s all I need. Because I know I have love and support from everywhere else, whether they’re right next to me, and the crowds? I mean, like I said, at the beginning of my career, I’ve fought in some crazy places. I’ve gone to places where I’ve constantly been booed. I had a Crown Royal bottle thrown at me before.”
“At the end of the day, that’s not going to change what happens in the Octagon,” Pennington continued. “It’s not going to change the skills that I have in my toolbox. It’s not going to change anything in there. Because as soon as that cage door closes, it’s like, for me, it’s just, me, my opponent, the bright lights, and I can hear my coaches. That’s it. I can zone out, and then, I can go into what I need to do.”
“I don’t care where the boos come from, I don’t care what’s going to happen with that. I don’t care who bets against me. I don’t care if I’m the biggest underdog in the world, and it’s the same thing when I fought Holly Holm. Everybody thought I was going to get my freaking teeth knocked out, I was going to end up in the hospital, I was going to be, just on this whole new page, and I think I showed something completely different. [Nunes is] another female, she’s a great athlete, but I also know that I’m a great athlete, and I know what I have to bring to the table.”
How do you think Raquel Pennington will perform in hostile territory at UFC 224?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/13/2018.