The title shot campaign of Julianna Peña is gaining steam as UFC president Dana White confirms he is seriously considering her as the next opponent for dual women’s champion, Amanda Nunes.
Peña has continued to apply pressure to the UFC brass about getting the fight with Nunes, beginning with her post-fight comments after submitting Sara McMann at UFC 257. She paid close attention to Nunes’ most recent title defense — which saw the champion dominate women’s featherweight contender Megan Anderson at UFC 259 — and then started asking for her return to the women’s bantamweight division.
Using every possible tactic available, from social media call-outs to texting White and UFC matchmakers, Peña has not eased up whatsoever and appears to be working in her favor. In an interview with TMZ Sports, White was asked about the next title challenger for Nunes, who he first sang the praises of before revealing Peña is actually in prime position to meet her in the Octagon.
“She’s so badass, man,” said White. “She is so badass. And you know what’s crazy? Leading up to that [Anderson] fight her manager, Dan Lambert, said to me she looks better than she’s ever looked. She’s crushing people in the gym. I don’t even know how it’s possible how she could be this much better with all the time off she’s had. And, you know, everybody always says their fighter — look what she did.
“Right now, alright, I’ll give you a little something that we’re talking about right now. So, Julianna Peña has been driving me [expletive] bananas, okay? Will not stop terrorizing me about how she deserves this fight. How ‘Amanda Nunes this, Amanda Nunes that, Amanda is ducking her because the style doesn’t match up well for Amanda’. So, I’m thinking about doing Peña and Nunes.”
The response to this potential fight has been met with very different reactions from Peña and Nunes. Nunes stands firm in her belief that Peña should be fighting another contender like former champion Germaine De Randamie before getting a championship opportunity, but the “Venezuelan Vixen” disagrees. Peña sees this more as Nunes avoiding her because of her fighting style, which is primarily that of a wrestler and grappler.
If this fight does indeed become official, then it will mark the sixth title defense for Nunes in the women’s bantamweight division. Although Nunes has not fought at 135 pounds since 2019, she says she will be working with her nutritionist to safely get back down to that weight for her upcoming fight.