Julianna Pena could be getting the next title shot against current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. Of course, the equation changes if Ronda Rousey makes her return to the Octagon, and Nunes herself says that she wants her first defense to come against Ronda.
The TUF 18 winner -- she was on Team Tate, opposite Team Rousey -- is known for not mincing words on MMA's biggest topics, particularly the subject of Rousey, and her brief chat with TMZ was no different. While Rousey's future has been subject to a considerable amount of speculation, Pena believes that Rousey will fight before 2016 is over.
"I think she’s going to come back before the end of the year," Pena said. "That’s what I’ve been told. That’s what I’ve heard. I’ll believe it when I see it, when she actually signs a contract on the dotted line then I’ll be more of a believer. They say she’s coming back, so we’ll see."
Rousey's projected return was pushed back to December 2016 or early 2017 after she underwent minor knee surgery in June.
When asked whether or not we’ll see "the old Ronda Rousey" back in the cage, "The Venezuelan Vizen" provided the biggest quotes out of the entire conversation.
"She’s like the emperor in no clothes, you know what I mean?" Pena said. "She’s broken a little bit, and I just think that no one really cares about Ronda Rousey and her fat arms anymore. But I guess some people do, and so I guess Amanda’s going to wait for that title fight and we’ll see how that goes."
Pena is coming off a unanimous decision win at UFC 200 against Cat Zingano. She is a perfect 4-0 inside the Octagon and as far as she's concerned, she's the rightful top contender in her division.
"No one deserves this title shot more than I do," Pena said. "[Nunes] knows that she needs to fight me, all these girls know they need to fight me, and I want my belt, so I'm not going to stop until I get it."
The 26-year-old was also asked if she thought Nunes was "scared" to fight her, but she doesn't see that as the case.
"No, I think she just wants to have the money fight, you know what I mean? Why defend your title when you can just wait around for whenever Ronda is ready to quit teasing everyone? So I think that's her gameplan."