For the first time in two years, Amanda Nunes will defend her bantamweight championship at UFC 269. In the co-main event of the evening, Nunes will meet challenger, Julianna Pena. Originally scheduled to fight at UFC 265, Pena will finally get her shot at the “Lioness.”
“Where’s Amanda at?"
Pena (10-4) was set for a championship opportunity at UFC 265 until Nunes (21-4) was forced to pull out of the event due to a positive COVID test. Despite reports that Nunes tested negative in follow-up tests, the bout was canceled and was to be rescheduled. This did not sit well with Pena, who felt the champion was dodging her.
Pena crashed the UFC 265 press conference demanding answers from UFC President Dana White. "Where’s Amanda, Dana? Where’s Amanda at?" Pena asked during her press conference appearance. White replied saying, "she has COVID." Pena fired back, saying, "it’s not too late to get her here. I heard that she tested negative." White feigned ignorance saying he was unaware of the negative follow-up tests.
“Everyone Loves an Underdog,"
During an appearance on The MMA Hour, Pena discussed the initially scheduled bout after the announced cancellation. "I’m not surprised. Didn’t I tell you that was gonna happen in the promo?" Pena asked host Ariel Helwani. "I literally said she was not gonna make the fight. I literally said ‘if it happens because I doubt that it will.’ So far, my predictions have been dead on."
Jump ahead four months, and we find ourselves looking down the barrel of a bantamweight title fight with a lot of animosities built up. Pena has shown confidence in her ability to defeat Nunes, but it’s clear that the MMA community is already putting a checkmark in the win column for Nunes, and Pena is not entertained.
"I feel like a lot of people are sleeping on me, and they think I"m the sacrificial lamb, but I definitely think that you know, I know that I’m definitely not a sacrificial lamb, and everyone loves an underdog," said Pena while speaking to TMZ.
"I’m ready. I am in the zone. I have never felt more physically or mentally prepared in my life, and it’s my time. It just feels so great to know that I have literally left no stone unturned. I" m ready to go. I’m in the zone!"
Playing a Dangerous Game
Pena’s comments towards the champ have not gone unnoticed. At the UFC 269 media day, Nunes responded by saying, "she’s delusional." Nunes did not wholly dismiss Pena during her media day appearance. "She’s definitely dangerous, she’s definitely a very good fighter, and I" m going to be ready to go. She’s never fought a Lioness before," said Nunes.
"I feel like she can talk whatever she wants. I feel like she has to do that to be able to bring all the attention, but I’m going to tell her she can have all the attention she wants. All of it. Because Saturday is my night, December is my month. Nobody’s going to take this belt from me."
Pena responded to the comment of being "delusional" when speaking with TMZ. "[Nunes] called me delusional. She said that I’m reckless. I don’t think that she’s taking me seriously at all, and you know, that’s fine."
Luckily we won’t have to wait much longer for these two women to settle things inside the Octagon.
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