Las Vegas, NV — Women’s bantamweight contender Irene Aldana called her last fight her “worst performance ever” ahead of UFC 264.
Cue Comic Book Guy. Aldana’s last fight came against former bantamweight champ Holly Holm, and saw her lose a one-sided unanimous decision. Prior to the defeat, Aldana had been on the short list of contenders at 135lbs.
During Wednesday’s UFC 264 media day, the 33-year old from Mexico added that “it happens. It was hard to take. I just take my time, swallow it, go back to the gym, and here I am.” A broken foot just before the fight required surgery, she added. That resulted in three months off from training.
There was seemingly no thought of cancelling the bout with Holm, however. “We had to get the job done. We were there, we traveled, we signed the contract, it was a big fight. I didn’t want to cancel that fight. I don’t want to make excuses, it’s just everything was the perfect mix for failure that night,” said Aldana, who added that “I got COVID a few months before the fight, I struggled with that. I tested negative until late September, and I was fighting early October. I wasn’t 100%, [but] I needed to say that I was.”
Aldana wanted to be able to overcome all those adversities and make the best of things, she added. “I tried, and I failed. And I learned, that’s it.”
Now, she’s been matched up with another top 135lb’er in former Invicta FC champion Yana Kunitskaya. It’s a great match-up, believes Aldana. One that could boost her back up to title contention.
However, with the loss, Julianna Pena was able to skip the line to a title shot against Amanda Nunes. “She raised her voice, and she got it. Good for her. She’s been a good contender for a long time. If the UFC gave her the fight, that’s because they think she deserved it,” Aldana said of the development.
That said, Pena is in for a tough night, Aldana believes. “Amanda is really hard to beat, honestly. She has showed us, everybody, that she’s really tough. But [nobody] is unbeatable. At some point, you have to go down. Maybe Julianna can make it, maybe not. We don’t know. It’s going to be a hard fight.”
Watch the full UFC 264 media day scrum with Irene Aldana above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.