Since she won The Ultimate Fighter in 2013, Julianna Peña has marked her spot on the list of the best contenders for the Bantamweight title. But she never got the shot which she thinks she deserves.
“I feel like I shouldn’t have to do this song and dance and shout off of the rooftops like a wild, screaming banshee being like, ‘gimme my title shot!’ Holly [Holm] beat the oldest lady in the division, Marion Reneau. She beat like two old ladies, then she fought to a draw, which was like a coin flip as to who won the fight, [Raquel] Pennington or Holly, and she gets a title shot out of thin air. Bethe Correia beat Shayna Baszler, who didn’t get past me on The Ultimate Fighter and she gets a title shot just by waving her hands, you know.”
“Miesha [Tate] got her second title shot after being 1-0, against Ronda [Rousey], after she beat Jessica Eye she got another title shot to campaign against Holly. I beat Jessica Eye, nothing happens. I beat Shayna Baszler, nothing happens, and Shayna Baszler was in the top 10 back then. I keep beating these people that other people have beat and they get title shots, and I don’t get title shots, it is annoying. But I know that in anything in life you’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to work for stuff. If I want this I just have to keep working, and that’s what I plan on doing.”
She is certainly eyeing to challenge the current champion, Amanda Nunes, but the Brazilian undermined her saying she still needs to prove herself.
“I don’t know how many more times I can prove myself,” she said. “You know, when I was on The Ultimate Fighter it was just Ronda and Miesha winning back then, while I was winning on The Ultimate Fighter. When The Ultimate Fighter got out, Ronda was still winning and then I got injured, and then when I came back I was still winning. I’ve been winning this whole entire time. I’ve been winning since I stepping foot in the UFC Octagon. I’ve been consistently winning since stepping on the show. I don’t know how much more I can improve myself.”
“I think that that’s pretty funny. It just sounds like [Nunes]’s ducking the both of us, because she’s just had gotten a fight with Valentina, she knows what she’s working with. And she knows that I’m just getting warmed up and a five-round fight with me would be atrocious. She knows I’m going to stand right there in the pocket with her and throw blows. So I definitely don’t think that she welcomes that, and she’s kind of biding her time as much as she can.”
When asked what she thought of Valentina Shevchenko beating Holly Holm, Pena says she wasn’t surprised at all.
“I’ve been saying for a while now that ‘Harmless Holly’ couldn’t hurt a fly,” she said. “And especially in a five-round fight.”
‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ also comments on Ronda Rousey’s comeback and her immediate title shot.
“No, I don’t think it’s fair, absolutely not,” she said. “But, I know that Ronda is a big part of the reason why we have a division in the first place. So you’ve got to pay respect where respect is due, and I definitely respect her for the fact that she was blazing trails in order to get us into the UFC in the first place. She’s a big name, she’s the money fight, and they definitely want to see her with her belt back. If she decides to come back, I’m sure that they’re going to give it to her.”