Raquel Pennington will finally get to compete on a UFC card alongside Tecia Torres again on Saturday.
A longtime couple outside the cage, the pair have not shared a card together since 2016. That changes at UFC on ESPN 11, as Pennington faces Marion Reneau, and Torres takes on Briana Van Buren.
“It’s super exciting for me. I have been trying to convince Tecia for years now to get on the same card as me,” Pennington told Cageside Press at the event’s media day. “And she’s like, ‘No, I can’t do it.’ She’s more emotional than I am. So for her, it was just like, more stressful. Even though I worry about her, I have all the faith in the world in her so I was just like, ‘let’s do it. Let’s do it.'”
It was a pair of bout offers, a week apart, that finally led Torres to pull the trigger. “They actually called and they offered her a fight for last week. And then they offered me the fight for this week. And then she got brave enough to push it and ask for the same day,” Pennington continued, adding that the process has been fun, with the couple sharing the same goals this week.
“We originally met in 2012 fighting on the same card. And then the last card we fought on together was in 2016, in Tampa,” Pennington recalled. “That was her rematch against Rose [Namajunas], and then I fought Bethe Correia.”
One thing the pair haven’t done is both win while on the same card. The 2012 card Pennington refers to, under the Invicta FC banner, saw Torres defeat Kaiyana Rain. Pennington lost via submission to Cat Zingano. Four years later, it was Pennington earning the win against Correia. Torres was defeated by “Thug” Rose.
Which means UFC on ESPN 11 could be a first for the pair.
For Pennington, Saturday represents a chance to get back in the win column after dropping a fight to Holly Holm earlier this year. But it’s another previous foe that “Rocky” would like to see fighting for the title next: Irene Aldana. Instead, Aldana is paired up against Holm in August.
“Aldana deserves the title shot. I was actually kind of annoyed to see her and Holly set up against each other, just because the girl has been grinding, and I truly believe she’s the one that deserves that shot,” Pennington said. She actually picked up the split decision win over Aldana last July. However, the Mexican fighter has won two fights since, and is 5-1 in her last six. “I know Amanda [Nunes] just fought so it would put Aldana back a little bit longer, to have a little bit of a layoff until Amanda is ready to fight again. But I think that should have been the next shot for her.”
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 11 media day scrum with Raquel Pennington above.