Pena (11-4-0 6-2-0 UFC) shocked the world when she submitted dominant double champion Amanda Nunes to capture the UFC bantamweight championship. While the world celebrated one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, one man was not impressed.
“You’re Breaking My Heart”
During a press conference for his Eagle FC promotion, former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) addressed the possibility of a women’s division. While he left the door open, he took a shot at Pena rather unnecessarily.
“I am like, we can watch what Julianna Peña did with Amanda Nunes [at UFC 269]. But Julianna Peña, she is not like the greatest or like that. She just beat Amanda Nunes like [on the day]. We can watch not many good [female] fighters all around the world. There are only like five or six of them,” Khabib said.
While appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Pena addressed the comments made by Nurmagomedov.
“I saw in a presser that they asked [Khabib] a question and he was just completely downgrading the whole win and everything like that….it totally broke my heart…” Peña said in a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “I was like, ‘Dude, you’re breaking my heart, man. Like, I freaking love you. Like, seriously.”
“He must be friends with Kayla Harrison or something. I don’t know. Because he was like, [MOCK ACCENT] ‘If this is the top of women’s division, it’s a joke,” Peña said. “I mean, it wasn’t very nice. I didn’t appreciate it, Khabib.”
A History Of Questionable Comments
This isn’t the first time that Nurmagomedov has used his platform to disparage women in mixed martial arts. In August at a press conference in Moscow, Khabib said that “ring girls are the most useless people in martial arts.”
“What is their function? I have a question. You can show that it is the second round on the screen,” he said.
“I realize that is a history (behind ring card girls). History knows many mistakes. We read history to avoid mistakes of the past in the future. If we look in the history, it says they are useless. That is my personal opinion. Dana White maybe likes it. Maybe you do, too. But my name is not Dana. My name is Khabib.”
Arianny Celeste, a 16 year veteran of the UFC, responded to Khabib’s ignorant comments on Instagram.
“You can call us useless, but to people like me who have worked this hard, it slips right off my shoulders . My life is too good to be unhappy. You don’t have to like me, but you will respect me.”
Nurmagomedov’s antipathy towards women isn’t limited to comments made in 2021. Back in 2018 during a Q&A for MISK talk in Saudi Arabia, Khabib caused an uproar when he suggested that aspiring female fighters should just stay home.
“For females, I have very good advice, be fighter inside your home. And one more
advice, all the time, finish your husband.”
Nurmagomedov retired after successfully defending his lightweight championship against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Walking away from the Octagon with an undefeated record, Khabib has turned his attention to promoting events for his organization Eagle FC.
Pena will coach opposite Amanda Nunes on the 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter this May.
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images