Raquel Pennington explains why she wants Julianna Pena and not Kayla Harrison as her first title defense

By Cole Shelton - March 27, 2024

Raquel Pennington is hoping for her first title defense to be against Julianna Pena.

Raquel Pennington

Pennington won the vacant 135lbs title back in January with a decision win over Mayra Bueno Silva. Since then, she has been waiting for her first title defense, which she expects to happen in the fall. One possible opponent for Pennington’s first title defense is Kayla Harrison, who recently signed with the promotion and will make her debut opposite Holly Holm at UFC 300.

“Not really, I expected Kayla to sign a lot sooner. It was interesting with UFC 300 and the announcement, but that is the part that makes for good business,” Pennington said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “It didn’t surprise me, but the thing that did surprise me was that she’s fighting at 135. She’s a big girl, I’ve seen interviews where she’s said she’s done trail cuts. So, you may be able to make the weight, but how are you going to compete in it?”

Although many expect Kayla Harrison to get a title shot with a win, Raquel Pennington says she’d rather fight Julianna Pena. She believes the former champ deserves the title shot more than Harrison.

“For me and my team we are planning on Julianna, Julianna is the one that makes sense. It’s a fight I’ve been looking forward to since The Ultimate Fighter,” Raquel Pennington said. “That was supposed to be the fight for the vacant title anyway, but Julianna was injured so the UFC called and said it was going to be me and Mayra Bueno Silva. That I did not expect, so that is the fight I’m expecting. The UFC tends to do what they want to do, so I wouldn’t be surprised if after the fight with Holly and Kayla if Kayla is to win that they will give that phone call as well.

“But, just for me being the athlete, I’ve never been handed anything, I’ve had to work from the ground up, there are tons of women in this division doing the same thing and deserve the opportunity. I feel like there are those athletes that get the fast track and it’s not fair. Personally, I’m not opposed to fighting Kayla at all, but I just feel like there are so many other people who deserve the opportunity as well. So, we will see how it all plays out,” Pennington added.

However, Raquel Pennington says she is ready to fight anyone and looking forward to defending her belt later this year.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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