UFC champion Julianna Peña brands Kayla Harrison a 'Ronda Rousey wannabe'

Newly-crowned UFC champion Julianna Peña has branded Kayla Harrison a 'Ronda Rousey wannabe'

Newly-crowned UFC champion Julianna Peña has branded Kayla Harrison a “Ronda Rousey wannabe”.

Peña made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport, a week after her unexpected victory against Amanda Nunes.

The American stunned the world of MMA by defeating Nunes at UFC 269 earlier this month, and she is now the women’s bantamweight champion.

Her victory scuppered plans for a blockbuster fight between Nunes and Kayla Harrison, the two-time Olympic judo gold medallist and two-time PFL champion who is tipped to sign with UFC in the near future.

Peña revealed she was not tempted to move up a weight class to fight Harrison, saying she had been fighting in the “B-leagues”.

Harrison hit back, claiming she could beat Peña ‘with one arm’. The war of words has now continued.

“Who is this Ronda Rousey wannabe?” Peña told BBC Sport.

“Kayla is not on my radar. I don’t even think she can make 135lb, but if she wants to make the weight, pack your stuff and come on over here, honey.

“In the meantime, my focus is the rematch with Amanda.”

Julianna Pena stunned the world of MMA by defeating Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 earlier this month

A rematch with Nunes is indeed on the cards, with both stars up for the fight. UFC President Dana White claimed the bout would be the “biggest women’s fight of all time”.

Nunes, who is still the UFC women’s featherweight champion, was expected to easily beat Peña at UFC 269.

Instead, the Brazilian’s impressive 12-fight, seven-year undefeated streak come to an end.

“I’ve been saying for five years that this was going to happen,” Peña said.

“We’ve seen that in her past fights. We’ve seen her shell up and go into the foetal position. We’ve seen the referee have to come in and save her.

“I knew if you are going to do that once, you will do it again. You just have to find that breaking point. I just needed to give her a way out and I absolutely achieved that.”

Julianna Peña branded Amanda Nunes a

Peña revealed she didn’t want to be “disrespectful” by celebrating in front of Nunes, but the magnitude of her achievement soon hit her after she went backstage.

“Immediately [you’re taken] to the dressing curtain and they put you in front of a doctor and in that moment, I just broke down,” Peña admitted. “I just bawled. I just needed to release it. I needed to let it out.

“I was just so happy that it was finally over and I’m sure she felt the same. She felt a burden was lifted off her shoulders, like a weight has come off her.

“After it’s all said and done, you can breathe again and that was my moment to breathe.”

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