It’s been more than a year and a half since UFC Bantamweight Julianna Pena lost a potential title eliminator to Valentina Shevchenko. It’s been nearly a year since Pena announced her pregnancy.
According to Mike Bohn in an article for MMA Junkie, “In the time since that fight, Pena has moved from her longtime home of Spokane, Wash., to the Chicago Area, where she’s in a relationship with a police officer and father of her child. Pena did not reveal exactly how far along she is in her pregnancy, but regardless, it’s unlikely she returns to UFC competition until the latter portion of 2018.”
Well, Pena gave birth to her daughter in January, and it is now the latter portion of 2018. She remains ranked third in a division that is at a bit of a standstill.
Champion Amanda Nunes is training for her bout against Cyborg. Top-ranked Holly Holm is recovering from a knee surgery. Next is line is Ketlin Vieira, who is dealing with some knee issues of her own. Raquel Pennington and Germaine de Randamie – ranked fourth and fifth respectively – are scheduled to fight in November.
Pena has already defeated Cat Zinango (though it might be a fun one to run back) at UFC 200. With Sara McMann in the throes of pregnancy herself, Aspen Ladd booked for a fight with Tonya Evinger, and Bethe Correia injured, Marion Reneau may be the best option in the top 10.
Come to think of it, Reneau may be a great fit for welcoming Pena back to the Octagon.
Fight fans, would you like to see Peña return against Reneau?