Former Women's Bantamweight Champion Julianna Pena has been vocal in her distaste for rival Amanda Nunes and she's been voicing such ahead of Nunes' fight at UFC 289. Nunes will square off against No. 5 ranked Irene Aldana at UFC 289 from Vancouver as she defends her 135-pound title. Follow our UFC news for more fight announcements and breaking content!
Nunes and Pena were originally set to square off for the trilogy fight in their rivalry, but an injury sustained by Julianna Pena forced the fight to be cancelled. Now, Nunes will face a new opponent with the thought of retirement in the back of her mind. Julianna Pena has been present during UFC 289 press coverage and gave several interviews during fight week regarding the status of her rivalry with Nunes. Continuing to defend herself, Pena issued several shots at Nunes and her inability to be a draw in the sport.
Julianna Peña questions Amanda Nunes' star power: "She can’t draw flies" 😬 #UFC289
"I mean the co-main event has seven times more views than Amanda’s [fight] and she’s the main event." pic.twitter.com/5LKTB74dtO
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) June 10, 2023
“If you go back to [Nunes'] last seven fights, she's only been the main event twice. One of those was against me…me beating [Nunes] made her relevant again.
While Pena was quick to give the women's MMA GOAT her credit and not dispel any of her accomplishments, she compared the now-champion to MMA pioneer Ronda Rousey and said that the draw between the two was incomparable.
“The co-main event has seven times more views than Amanda's and she's the main event. She can't draw flies.”
While it's tough to see Pena throwing such jabs from the sidelines, she makes a good point in highlighting the fact that Amanda Nunes never reached the star-power of some of her less-talented counterparts. To this day, Amanda Nunes could have been the biggest star women's MMA has ever seen, but never quite got the marketing behind her to propel her into stardom. Nunes has in fact headlined five UFC fights, but only did so twice while championship against fighters besides Pena. Nevertheless, Amanda Nunes was able to silence the doubter and beat Pena during their rematch, giving her a leg-up on their rivalry.
With a third fight yet to happen and Pena's health a continuing question, it's hard to tell if we will ever see these two square off again. Nunes has mentioned retirement numerous times and could easily walk away from the sport if she convincingly beats Irene Aldana on Saturday. However, if her passion for fighting is still there, we could possibly see Pena and Nunes meet to settle their score.