Julianna Peña stunned UFC fans around the world on Saturday night when she beat Amanda Nunes to become the new Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
Nunes was on a run of 12 consecutive victories in the UFC prior to Saturday night and is regarded by many as the greatest female MMA fighter of all time.
Many gave Peña no chance in the build-up to this contest, but the American was undeterred by the public’s opinion.
Speaking to the MMA Hour before her historic win in Nevada, she stressed: “It’s like everybody has always counted me out. They counted me out on The Ultimate Fighter. They’ve counted me out my entire career. No one ever takes me seriously.
“They’re willing to lose, but they don’t want to lose to me. And I just think that you cannot let what these people say get to you.
“I don’t give an F what other people think. It’s what I know and what’s in my heart. And in my heart and what I know is: I’m a champion, and I’m gonna be a champion, and I am the champion.”
Indeed, Peña proved all her doubters wrong and beat the Brazilian via submission in just the second round.
Some have claimed that Nunes simply quit in the fight. Former UFC star Chael Sonnen said it was the former champion’s mind and not her body that contributed to the defeat.
Speaking on his own YouTube channel, Sonnen said: “Guys if you ever find yourselves in a fight that is more difficult than you anticipated it would be, things will unravel mentally very fast. Not physically. Your body will still have the reactions and the muscle memory.”
However, Peña brushed off any suggestions that Nunes quit and stressed that she tapped out because she could barely breathe.
“She had no choice but to tap,” she told the MMA Hour. “People want to say she quit – she didn’t quit, she was getting choked. She had no choice but to tap – I would have broken her neck. She tapped because she had no choice.”
Peña also emphasised that Nunes had underestimated her before the fight but admitted that even she was surprised with how quickly she managed to win the contest.
“I definitely think she dismissed me, but no, I didn’t use it as motivation,” she said.
“I just knew who she is as a fighter and how the fight was going to play out, and it played out pretty spot on to the way that I practised and the way that I had been training for.
“I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was over in Round 2, but at the end of the day, you’re always a little bit shocked, like, ‘Man, it’s all over?’”
Dana White has confirmed that Nunes will be offered a rematch and the 33-year-old has stressed that she will definitely accept the chance to win back the bantamweight title.News Now - Sport News