Julianna Peña earned a third-round submission over Sara McMann at UFC 257 this past Saturday and started to lay the groundwork for what she wants in her next appearance inside the Octagon. Peña utilized her microphone time well during her post-fight interview with Jon Anik and delivered a bold call out of current two-division champion, Amanda Nunes.
“I’m coming off of fighting three former world champions and I just beat the best wrestler in the division,” said Peña. “I have some news. Amanda Nunes, I want to fight you. This girl is fighting a girl who is only had three wins. No one has had a tougher road in the UFC except for me and I want to fight Amanda. It’s time for her to quit ducking. That’s my fight.”
As quickly as the call out was delivered, it was answered by Nunes, who took to Twitter to shut down Peña in a few tweets with the help of her wife Nina Ansaroff. Nunes brushed off the claim of ducking and stated that the reason they never fought was because Peña did not make herself a contender.
Peña was asked about this response during her post-fight press conference with the assembled media in Abu Dhabi and explained her reasoning behind calling for a fight with the champion as well as why she believes she deserves it now.
“First off, when she fought Miesha Tate at UFC 200, I had just beat Cat Zingano and Cat Zingano had just stopped Amanda Nunes,” said Peña. “So, Amanda said she would fight me and then she went and fought Ronda Rousey. Then, I was going to wait and bench myself, but then I got strong-hold into fighting Valentina [Shevchenko] and I put Valentina in positions where she didn’t want to be in and made the mistake by getting overzealous and punching my submission.
“Same thing with world champion Germaine de Randamie. I put her in a position that she didn’t want to be in and I screwed myself by not pulling her off the fence more and thinking I was caught in a regular guillotine. I was shoulder pressuring her and I was like, ‘I’m passed to the right side. I’m shoulder pressuring. Thank you.’ And then I was gurgling and I was thinking like, ‘Man, I’m shoulder pressuring, maybe I need to shoulder pressure more.’ And then I was gurgling and then I was out. So, anyways. I’m putting these girls in positions that they don’t want to be in and I’m the one that’s making the mistakes.”
A fight between Nunes and Peña may not have materialized when it was supposed to for the reasons given, but the No. 7 ranked bantamweight is not letting it slip by again. Peña, who returned to the win column for the first time since July 2019, took issue with Nunes saying she is not a contender for her.
The way Peña sees it, she is more of a contender for Nunes than her upcoming opponent Megan Anderson.
“She says that I’m not a contender, Amanda Nunes, but also a girl with a .500 record with three wins and two losses in the UFC is more of a contender than I am? I don’t get it,” said Peña. “She told me that she would fight me and then now she’s saying that I’m not a contender and to me, that sounds like she doesn’t want to fight me. So, whatever. I’m not injured and I’m ready to step in on short-notice if that’s what needs to happen, but that’s the only fight that makes sense to me.”