Julianna Peña and Raquel Pennington never came head to head in the octagon, yet they have a long history under the same roof.
A decade post their experience on The Ultimate Fighter 18, Peña declares her TUF co-participant as her primary focus— she believes there’s an unresolved issue between them.
“I can’t erase the memory of her appalling remarks about me in the house, accusing me of being a spoilt child because I refrained from their night gatherings where they gossiped about me,” Peña stated on The MMA Hour. “I realized we weren’t friends soon enough when we shared a living space for seven weeks.”
Peña emerged as the victor of the show, while Pennington got eliminated in the semis by Jessica Rakoczy. During the shooting, they were roommates and belonged to the same team led by Miesha Tate. But their relationship wasn’t smooth sailing.
“She was my bunk mate,” recalled Peña. “Before her elimination, she would spend nights up till the early hours, drinking, and partying with others who were already out of the competition. Consequently, she missed out on practice as she slept in after those late-night sessions.
“So, every morning, as our team had the first practice session, I was up early preparing for my day, which she found irritating. She then began accusing me of intentionally creating noise.
“We were crammed in a tiny room, sharing our space. It’s not my fault that her partying all night led to her dragging herself in the morning and missing the practice sessions. And this was all before her elimination from the competition.”
Peña discovered the depth of Pennington’s dislike for her during a Q&A segment for the UFC’s website. When asked who Pennington would like to beat up in the house, the answer was Peña.
“Upon asking why she chose me, she said it was due to me being too loud. Yet, I was just focused on practice, and honestly, didn’t understand her logic,” said Peña.
“So anyway, she couldn’t make it past Jessica Rakoczy … whom I easily defeated. So, this discord has been simmering for a while now, since 2013 to be exact, and I’ve not forgotten it.”
Peña confirmed that the UFC has informed her about her upcoming title shot, and Pennington is her preferred opponent. Currently, the bantamweight title remains unclaimed after Amanda Nunes, the former two-division champion, retired. Nunes’s trilogy with Peña was replaced by a fight with Irene Aldana at UFC 289.
Pennington previously challenged Nunes for the title at UFC 224, but lost in the fifth round by TKO. Since then, she’s gained a 6-2 record, winning her last five fights. Peña, famed for submitting Nunes at UFC 269 but losing the belt in a rematch, feels Pennington’s record makes her a more suitable challenger than Mayra Bueno Silva, who targeted her after a win over ex-champ Holly Holm.
Silva mocked Peña by suggesting a fight with Pennington would barely attract any audience. Peña begs to differ.
“I believe this is [a bigger fight], considering she’s on a five-fight winning streak and has been asking for a title shot since her last defeat,” said Peña. “So, it’s high time she gets another beating, I suppose.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Julianna Peña Raquel Pennington feud
What is the background of Julianna Peña and Raquel Pennington’s feud?
Julianna Peña and Raquel Pennington’s feud dates back to their time on The Ultimate Fighter 18, where they were roommates. Peña recalls Pennington’s negative comments and accusations about her, leading to an unresolved issue between them that Peña wishes to settle in the octagon.
What did Peña recall about Pennington’s behavior during their time on TUF 18?
Peña recalled that Pennington would stay up late, partying and hanging out with others who had already been eliminated from the competition. As a result, Pennington would often sleep in and miss practice, causing tension between them.
When did Peña discover the depth of Pennington’s dislike for her?
Peña found out the extent of Pennington’s dislike during a Q&A segment for the UFC’s website. Pennington stated that she would like to beat up Peña in the house because she found her too loud.
Who is Peña’s preferred opponent for her next title shot?
Peña’s preferred opponent for her next title shot is Raquel Pennington, whom she views as a more suitable challenger compared to Mayra Bueno Silva, due to Pennington’s strong fight record.
What is the current status of the bantamweight title?
As of now, the bantamweight title remains vacant after the retirement of Amanda Nunes, the former two-division champion.