UFC on ESPN 12: Luis Pena on COVID-19 Protocols, Drysdale Controversy, and Askren Family Photo

There’s a reason Luis Pena and Khama Worthy are sitting in the featured prelim spot at UFC on ESPN 12. It’s a fight that holds a lot of promise, between two young and superbly talented lightweights.

Pena, affectionately known as Violent Bob Ross, is happy to be back to work. He’s not loving the COVID-19 procedures, mind you, he explained during the event’s media day this week.

“I’m not enjoying any of the COVID-19 protocols they’re putting us through, at all. One of the things I love about fighting for the UFC is how easy and streamlined they’ve made Fight Week and the whole process,” Pena explained. “But unfortunately everything’s out of their hands, you can’t blame them for what’s going on.”

Pena is the type of fighter who likes to get out during fight week. Especially to catch a movie. For now, he’s getting by with Netflix while cooped up ahead of the fight.

When it comes to Worthy, he sees a tough opponent in what promises to be a great pairing. “I have a lot of respect for Khama Worthy. He has a lot of power in his hands, he’s a very  good technical striker,” Pena said. “He’s going to be hard to put away. He’s a tough guy. But at the same time, I think that just makes for a great match-up.”

Pena has been making the comparison to the bout between Charles Jourdain and Andre Fili from just weeks ago. “I really believe we can put on a very similar performance.”

Just don’t expect Pena to let slip as to whether he’ll really meet Worthy in the middle and trade, something he suggested earlier in the week. “See, my actual game plan is to locate that thermal exhaust port and detonate that. First round,” Pena joked. He’s been using that line in a nod to Worthy’s “Deathstar” nickname.

While Pena wasn’t going to give away his actual game plan, he did comment on his support of Robert Drysdale following a controversial corning situation with Max Rohskopf last weekend. The issue arose when Rohskopf wanted out of the fight between the second and third rounds. Drysdale did everything he could to convince his student to continue.

“If I was in that situation ever, I would want my coach to try to motivate me to get back out there,” Pena stated. It’s not something he has experience with, however. “That’s not something I’ve needed. I’ve never needed my coaches to motivate me to go get back out there, it’s never been a thought to me between rounds not to go back out there and fight as hard as I can.”

The newest member of the “Askren Family” will be fighting as hard as he can this weekend, no doubt. But he’s also a fighter with a laid back style, not afraid to poke fun at himself. With that in mind, he’s completely open to a “family” photo with the rest of the curly-haired clan.

“That would be pretty dope. Chase Hooper and I have talked about working together. I want to get him out to Florida so we can work on his striking,” Pena told us.

Watch the full UFC on ESPN 12 media day scrum with Luis Pena (Violent Bob Ross) above!

Luis Pena Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press