Julianna Pena: I’m The Worst Possible Matchup For Amanda Nunes

UFC, Julianna Pena
Image courtesy of Jeff Bottari/Getty Images/Zuffa

Julianna Pena has once again accused Amanda Nunes of dodging her, saying that she’s the worst possible matchup for the UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion.

Pena was scheduled to fight Holly Holm at UFC Fight Night on May 8th, but the former champion confirmed on Tuesday that she has been ruled out of the bout due to kidney issues.

Instead of waiting for Holm to recover, Pena has called for a bantamweight title fight with Nunes, who successfully defended her featherweight title against Megan Anderson this past weekend at UFC 259.

Nunes Making Excuses

Pena is 2-2 in her last four fights and is coming off a submission win over Sara McMann in January at UFC 257. Nunes however, wants her to rack up a few wins before getting a title shot. Speaking with The Schmo (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ said that ‘The Lioness’ is only making excuses.

“She’s been turning down a fight for a long time now,” Pena said. “I think that her asking me to fight [Germaine de Randamie] again is comical. To me it’s clear as day she doesn’t want to fight me. She doesn’t want to fight a wrestler and a grappler. She’s been fighting nothing but pure strikers ever since she won the belt against Miesha [Tate].

“The funny thing about her wanting me to fight Germaine, like, you didn’t ask Holly to fight one more, you didn’t ask Megan Anderson to fight one more, you didn’t ask Felicia Spencer to fight one more. All these girls are new to the division with .500 records but for me for some reason it’s always, ‘Oh, she’s got to fight one more. She’s got to be in the mix.’ I’ve been in the mix. I’ve been here. I’ve been fighting just as long as she has and I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that she would ask me to fight one more, again, especially since Holly pulled out.”

Worst Possible Matchup

Nunes’ first and only loss in the UFC came in 2014 at the hands of Cat Zingano, who used her grappling and aggression to TKO the Brazilian in the second round, after absorbing some hard shots in the first round.

While the champion has improved leaps and bounds since then, Pena believes Nunes is ‘scared’ to fight her because of her grappling skills.

“If you look at Cat Zingano, she was a great grappler, a great wrestler, and she was great in the division,” Pena noted. “Then if you look at Sara McMann, a silver [medal winning] Olympic wrestler, a great grappler. I beat them both so I now think I hold the reins as the best grappler in the division.

“Stylistically, I’m the worst possible matchup out there for her and she knows that. So it’s just kind of frustrating that she would ask me to again fight one more. Why don’t you ever ask anybody else to fight one more? Why is it just me?”

Nunes last defended her bantamweight title at UFC 245, beating de Randamie via unanimous decision. The double champ’s last two fights have been at 145lbs, and if she needs more time to come down to 135lbs, Pena will wait.

“She hasn’t defended her title at 135 pounds since 2019,” Pena said. “So if she needs longer time to cut the weight and come down to 135 since she says she’s super big right now, then I’ll wait if that’s what it means to be able to fight for the title.”

Would you be interested in a fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena?

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