UFC bantamweight title challenger Julianna Pena is confident her title fight against two-division champ Amanda Nunes will get gone.
Pena was scheduled to co-headline UFC 265 against Nunes, but a positive COVID-19 test forced Nunes to withdraw. Pena showed up anyway to Houston and even got in a question at the pay-per-view event’s press conference.
One day after venting her frustrations about the delay, Pena struck a more optimistic note about the fight, which she said should take place by December. She remains adamant that a further delay should trigger an interim title fight with the winner unifying the belt against Nunes.
Part of the frustration, Pena said, is undertaking back-to-back fight camps as she waits for Nunes to be ready. To date, she said she’s done three straight.
“Are you bleeding me dry? Is this your game plan? What is the motive here, especially because I heard from a teammate of hers that she hasn’t even been training,” Pena said. “Even when she was healthy and is healthy has barely been in the gym. That part is frustrating for me, because I have been making this fight my top priority. I have been living in the gym. My house is launching pad – I literally just go there, change clothes, take a shower and go to the next one. My kid has been taking all the sacrifices like I have; she’s been living in her car seat.
“I do want to take this time to say that I understand her position. She’s a new mother, and she wants to enjoy that time with her baby, and she lacks a little bit of motivation to get up for a fight when she wants to hang out with her newborn. I get that. I was in that same position. But if you’re going to not fight in December, it’ll be two years since she’s defended the belt at 135 pounds. We’ve got to keep the train moving. Let’s get a girl in there that’s ready to rock, and we’ll fight for the interim belt, and when she’s ready to come back, she can pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.”
Nunes recently returned to the gym, so it looks like Pena will get her chance. Check out her full interview above.