Home MMA NewsLatest News Julianna Peña Severs Ties with Amanda Nunes after UFC 289, Accusing Her of Cowardice

Julianna Peña Severs Ties with Amanda Nunes after UFC 289, Accusing Her of Cowardice

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MMA rivalry

Julianna Peña has decided to leave Amanda Nunes in the past.

During UFC 289, Nunes secured her UFC bantamweight title by convincingly defeating Irene Aldana in a unanimous decision. Following her triumph, Nunes announced her retirement from MMA, concluding her career as an undisputed two-division champion. While many fighters celebrated Nunes’ departure and her remarkable achievements, Peña held a different view.

Seated ringside for the fight, Peña reacted to Nunes’ retirement with scorn. During an interview on The MMA Hour on Monday, she revealed her strong emotions towards the situation.

“I had this urge to storm the cage,” Peña admitted. “I had so many people willing to help me, saying, ‘Yes, we’ll throw you over the gate!’ But my coach advised against it. He told me to be classy and not to do it. So, I let her have her moment, but it was extremely difficult for me. She is retired now, gone into the sunset, and at this point, she’s dead to me. We must focus on moving forward with the division. Today marks the beginning of the ‘Peña Power’ era. I have always considered myself the champion in my heart and mind… It’s just a matter of time before the belt is around my waist again.”

Peña and Nunes have had a contentious rivalry since UFC 200. Peña relentlessly pursued a fight with Nunes and, when she finally got the opportunity, she stunned the world with a submission victory over Nunes at UFC 269, one of the most significant upsets in MMA history. They had a rematch at UFC 277, which Nunes won dominantly, leading to their expected trilogy fight at UFC 289. Unfortunately, Peña had to withdraw due to a rib injury, and Aldana stepped in. Peña now regrets that she will never have the chance to avenge her own loss, which deeply frustrates the former champion.

“From the beginning, I’ve been saying it: she wanted to retire, she had one foot out the door the whole time,” Peña claimed. “She even admitted it herself, saying she would retire after tapping to me. But she didn’t because she thought I was too good-looking and didn’t want me to have the belt. Seriously, she has a problem with me. The UFC tried to arrange the trilogy, but she refused. They made it clear to me that she didn’t want to fight me. That’s why it took so long to book the trilogy. When I withdrew due to injury, she said it was ‘less heavy’ for her. It’s less heavy for her because she knows what’s at stake. She owes my training partner the win bonus because if I had shown up on June 10, there’s no way she would have won, and she wouldn’t be receiving that money, period.”

Peña emphasized, “In the end, none of this matters. What matters now is that she’s gone. She’s dead to me. I want nothing to do with her now or in the foreseeable future.”

Although Nunes has retired, Peña finds herself in the same position she was in before as the presumptive number one contender.

Peña is still recovering from her rib injury but expects to return to the octagon before the year ends. When she does, she anticipates facing Raquel Pennington for the vacant belt.

“Most likely, it will be Raquel. I believe I will fight Raquel,” Peña disclosed. “She has done enough to deserve a title shot. She’s incredibly durable and tough, so that’s the fight they will likely make… I anticipate it will be Raquel, especially since she was supposed to fight Irene. But you never know what the UFC machine will do.”

Pennington currently holds a five-fight winning streak and is ranked second in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. She was scheduled to face Aldana in a title elimination bout this summer until Peña’s injury forced the UFC to make changes.

If Nunes changes her mind and decides to continue her career after Peña reclaims the bantamweight belt, Peña would welcome the opportunity to settle their differences.

“Hopefully, she comes back,” Peña expressed. “That would be the best-case scenario so we can resolve this and conclude the trilogy. It was supposed to be the greatest trilogy in women’s MMA, an opportunity that has never happened before. She lost that chance by retiring early. I lost that opportunity due to my injury. I believe she took the coward’s way out, and that’s the bottom line.”

Peña concluded, “Ultimately, she means nothing to me anymore. We must keep this division moving forward, and I will do my part to ensure it remains exciting.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MMA rivalry

What happened in the main event of UFC 289?

Amanda Nunes successfully defended her UFC bantamweight title with a dominant unanimous decision win over Irene Aldana.

Why did Amanda Nunes retire from MMA?

After her victory at UFC 289, Nunes announced her retirement from MMA, choosing to end her career as an undisputed two-division champion.

How did Julianna Peña react to Amanda Nunes’ retirement?

Julianna Peña responded with derision to Nunes’ retirement, declaring that Nunes is “dead” to her and accusing her of taking the coward’s way out.

What is the history of the rivalry between Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes?

The rivalry between Peña and Nunes dates back to UFC 200. Peña had pursued a fight with Nunes for years and defeated her in a major upset at UFC 269. They had a rematch at UFC 277, which Nunes won dominantly.

Will Julianna Peña get a chance to avenge her loss to Amanda Nunes?

No, due to a rib injury, Peña had to withdraw from their expected trilogy fight at UFC 289, and Nunes retired shortly after. Peña expressed frustration at not being able to avenge her loss.

Who might Julianna Peña fight next?

Peña mentioned that she anticipates fighting Raquel Pennington for the vacant belt. Pennington is currently on a five-fight winning streak and is the second-ranked contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division.

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