On the latest edition of TUF Talk, Karyn Bryant and Dominick Cruz were joined by top bantamweight contender, Julianna Peña.
“The Venezuelan Vixen” was last seen in action at UFC Fight Night: Denver in January, where she faced Valentina Shevchenko in the main event. Shevchenko submitted Peña via arm bar in the second round, handing Peña her first loss in the UFC. When asked about her loss to Shevchenko, Peña said,
I think this goes to the old adage that you should not ever overlook or underestimate your opponents. And I think that was one of the things that I was focusing on too much on. Once I was like, ‘take away her Muay Thai’, then I took away her [Shevchenko] Muay Thai and I was literally like, ‘she ain’t got no jiu jitsu, this is my world.’ And than at the same time I was laughing off her arm bar I was tapping to the arm bar. I think that you have to understand these fighters are so well-rounded in all areas and that they’re capable of getting a finish on the ground as well as on the feet. So next time I think, be a little more patient is the key for me.
Peña, 9-3, made history when she became the first woman to win The Ultimate Fighter. She competed on season 18 as a part of Team Tate. Post-TUF, Peña put together a solid winning streak before losing to Shevchenko– with notable and impressive wins over Milana Dudieva, Jessica Eye, and Cat Zingano. In lieu of recent news of TUF 26 introducing women flyweights to the UFC, Peña shared her excitement,
I was asking Dana if I can get back in the house and have a crack at that belt finally. I fought at ’25 a couple of times in my career, so it’s not hard for me to make the weight. I walk naturally at around 135, with a little couple pounds heavier, so making 125 is not a problem for me. And yeah, I think I would steamroll all the girls at 125 pounds, but than again, I kinda got that, ya know, big head thing going on.
Dominick Cruz proceeded to ask Peña what her biggest adjustment would be to be successful in the 125-pound division.
I think that the biggest change would be for me is to probably cut the weight would be the biggest problem– but I don’t honestly think it is a problem. Because during fight week at 135 I’m literally 137, if that, not even, walking in there, with not even cutting a pound. I really don’t think the weight would be an issue. Absolutely, I think I’m more of a natural 125er, at 135 I feel like that’s more of my, like, normal walking weight. So it makes sense for me that they finally, finally–the MMA god she have been listening and made a 125-pound division.
Julianna also talks about her recent engagement to long-time boyfriend, and her time commentating for Combate Americas, and spending time in the TUF house. The full episode of TUF Talk featuring Julianna can be viewed below.
Do you think Peña would be a good addition to the flyweight division? Would you like to see her back in the TUF house?