Julianna Pena is not letting her lack of activity the last few years get her down. The bantamweight known as “The Venezuelan Vixen” returns Saturday night at UFC Fight Island 4, where she goes up against the top ranked bantamweight in the world, Germaine de Randamie.
Despite having fought just three times since 2015 — the birth of her daughter, and a knee injury, have factored into inactivity over the years — Pena still feels that she’s been putting together the type of run that can take her to the title.
“Having a daughter and injuries have kept me away, but that’s the circle of life,” Pena stated during the UFC Vegas 4 media day this week. “Injuries and having a life outside of the cage is the nature of the beast.”
Despite the unofficial title eliminator status of Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana in the main event in Abu Dhabi this weekend, Pena feels she can cut the line. “Absolutely, yes I do. I feel like I’m the only clear cut answer as far as titles are concerned,” the 31-year old stated. “Amanda [Nunes] and I are going to fight either way, one way or the other. Albeit, God willing, I get my hand raised against Germaine, I feel like I’m the only one that should be in the title talks.”
The other women’s bantamweights on the card, mind you, would likely have something to say about that. But Holm and de Randamie have already fallen to bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes. With that in mind, UFC Fight Island 4 feels like an audition for Aldana and Pena. Whoever has the better performance could very well be next in line at 135lbs.
The birth of Pena’s daughter in 2018 added new motivation for The Ultimate Fighter 18 winner.
“Definitely. I want to be able to give my daughter an example to follow,” explained Pena, noting that “sometimes you give your kids all the advice in the world, but at the end of the day what they’re going to follow is your example. I want to give the example to my daughter that you can literally do anything that you set your mind to. And if she sees me working hard and reaching for my goals then of course she’s going to feel empowered to do the same in her life.”
Watch the full UFC Fight Island 4 virtual media day scrum with Julianna Pena above.