The newly-crowned women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes defeated Julianna Pena in the main event of UFC 277 last weekend in Dallas, Texas, to retain her 135-pound gold. Her impressive performance avenged her submission defeat against “The Venezuelan Vixen” at UFC 269.
Despite having 22 victories and 13 knockouts, and four submissions, Nunes (22-5) wanted to make a statement against Pena and dispel the myth that the 34-year-old “Lioness” was a lost cause.
The “Pena Era” began when Julianna Pena won her women’s bantamweight title by defeating Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 in December 2021, ending the “Nunes Era,” as she put it. Sadly, that wasn’t sustained for very long. Seven months later, Nunes made a brutal comeback and beat Pena in five rounds to reclaim her “champ-champ.”
Pena was supposedly left scarred, and UFC President Dana White said: “The Lioness” had done damage that would need to be repaired by a plastic surgeon. However, reports of her deformity were exaggerated. Pena updated her health and spirits in a message posted on social media by “The Venezuelan Vixen,” both of which appear to be in good shape.
Pena characterized herself as “tougher than a two-dollar steak” on Instagram. “Thank you, everybody, for love! Only a few stitches were needed to close a cat scratch; no parts were lost, and no surgery was required. I adore you all. It’s presently 1-1.
As you can see, Pena still refers to herself as “The People’s Champion” and is requesting a three-fight series with Nunes. Given Nunes’ “dominant” victory against Pena in their rematch, White didn’t seem keen on setting up a fight for them.
Pena told reporters during the UFC 277 news conference, “I know Julianna’s tough. I was equipped for that. I could have killed her, but I wanted to fight her tonight for five rounds to show that I was superior to her. Tonight demonstrated that [UFC 269] was her fortunate day. She had her opportunity, but it’s too late for her to become a champion in that way.
She didn’t expressly state that she wanted Nunes to face women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko again, but she made it clear that he thought it would be a wise matchup.
White agreed, saying, “Yeah, that’s not a terrible concept.” Usually, I’d say, “Come on, dude.” That isn’t a horrible concept. I mean, when you give it any thought. No, I’m not accepting. Simply put, it’s not a terrible concept.
So, Pena will have to work hard to reclaim the top rank in the women’s 135-pound class if she wants to settle matters with a trilogy bout.