The UFC women’s bantamweight title picture is a bit of a hot mess to sift through at the moment. After the Rousey years of the title staying in one location, we’ve seen championship glory bestowed upon Holly Holm, Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes in a tidy timespan and developments like Holm losing two fights in a row hasn’t exactly helped with marquee value. It’s clearly a division full of great fighters, but one that’s had no shortage of questionable title shots at all points of its existence. So let’s get to Julianna Peña talking sh*t about the state of the bantamweight picture, shall we?
Peña, who is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Cat Zingano at UFC 200, has a strong case at 4-0 for a title shot and the 26-year-old Ultimate Fighter champ wasn’t shy about it on this week’s The MMA Hour. She expressed her frustration to Ariel Helwani about feeling overlooked. Bring on the comparisons to Holly Holm and Bethe Correia getting title fights.
“It is annoying,” Peña told Ariel Helwani. “It’s annoying and it’s embarrassing. I feel like I shouldn’t have to do this song and dance and shout off of the rooftops like a wild, screaming banshee being like, ‘gimme my title shot!’ Holly [Holm] beat the oldest lady in the division, Marion Reneau. She beat like two old ladies, then she fought to a draw, which was like a coin flip as to who won the fight, [Raquel] Pennington or Holly, and she gets a title shot out of thin air. Bethe Correia beat Shayna Baszler, who didn’t get past me on The Ultimate Fighter and she gets a title shot just by waving her hands, you know.”
Miesha Tate’s credentials for a title shot were also questioned with Peña noting that Tate scored a title shot after beating Jessica Eye, but she wasn’t given the same opportunity when she did the same thing. Peña has a case. She’s been undefeated in UFC competition and bounced back after a long 2014 layoff as a result of a knee injury. Mind you, groin-kicking headlines from a late 2015 arrest doesn’t look great on a résumé unless you’re aiming to launch a Jackass revival or something.
Peña noted that she wasn’t shocked to see Holly Holm lose to Valentina Shevchenko this weekend. She even bestowed a great high school sports drama nickname on Holm.
“I’ve been saying for a while now that ‘Harmless Holly’ couldn’t hurt a fly,” offered Peña. “And especially in a five-round fight.”
Speaking of five-round fights, Peña suggested that current bantamweight titleholder Amanda Nunes has been ducking both her and Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes has pitched the idea that a Peña vs. Schevchenko tilt could be the best way of determining who should fight for the belt next, but Peña thinks it’s a ruse.
“I think that that’s pretty funny. It just sounds like [Nunes]’s ducking the both of us, because she’s just had gotten a fight with Valentina, she knows what she’s working with. And she knows that I’m just getting warmed up and a five-round fight with me would be atrocious. She knows I’m going to stand right there in the pocket with her and throw blows. So I definitely don’t think that she welcomes that, and she’s kind of biding her time as much as she can.”
Julianna Peña may be more inclined to point to her record in her push for a title shot, but trash talk like this might give the campaign a boost her 4-0 record can’t.
(via MMA Fighting)