UFC champion Raquel Pennington says Julianna Pena fight is 13 years in the making: “You get under my damn skin”

By Fernando Quiles - January 21, 2024

Fresh off capturing UFC gold for the first time, Raquel Pennington wants to go toe-to-toe with Julianna Pena.

Raquel Pennington Julianna Pena

Pennington won the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship in the co-main event of UFC 297 this past Saturday night. Her blitzing style and cardio were enough to outlast Mayra Bueno Silva, who gassed down the stretch. While nothing has been made official, it certainly seems Pena will be first in line to challenge Pennington.

It’s a fight that the new women’s 135-pounder titleholder welcomes.


Raquel Pennington Targets Julianna Pena Fight

Speaking to reporters during the UFC 297 post-fight press conference, Raquel Pennington said she’s open to having her first title defense against Julianna Pena (via MMAJunkie).

“That’s the fight that makes sense,” Pennington told reporters at the UFC 297 post-fight press conference. “I honestly thought that for the world title it was going to be me and Julianna, but she’s still injured.

“That relationship just goes back to 2013 when we were both back in The Ultimate Fighter. Let’s just say I learned Julianna’s personality then, and it’s kind of one of those where you stay your way, and I’ll stay mine, but you get under my damn skin. I’ve been waiting for that fight for 13 years – whether the title is on the line or not.”

Pena wasn’t shy in expressing her opinion on the Pennington vs. Silva fight. She took to her X account to say that Pennington truly won an interim championship, and insisted the real title is coming back to her.

“The Venezuelan Vixen” is a former UFC women’s bantamweight champion. She shocked the world when she upset Amanda Nunes with a submission back in late 2021. In their July 2022 rematch, Nunes dominated Pena for five rounds to reclaim the 135-pound gold.

Pena has been out of action due to an injury. When she’s ready to return, Pena might have another title fight to look forward to.


Julianna Pena Raquel Pennington UFC