UFC 269: Julianna Pena Treating Title Shot As Just Another Fight

Las Vegas, — “Excited” and “ready” are the words Julianna Pena used to describe the feeling ahead of her first UFC title shot.

Pena (10-4) faces double champ Amanda Nunes in the co-main event of UFC 269 in Las Vegas this Saturday, with Nunes’ bantamweight title on the line.

Pena noted during the event’s media day this week that she’s been working for this opportunity her entire career. But despite the magnitude of the fight, she’s trying to normalize it. “Keep it simple, stupid. It’s just another fight at the end of the day. If you get a belt at the end of the night, that’s cute. I don’t want to make it bigger than what it is and let the media and everything like that get to me. I just need to focus on what I do, and go to work.”

Earlier in the year, when the fight between herself and Nunes was pushed back, Pena went as far as attending a press conference to challenge UFC President Dana White on why Nunes wasn’t ready to fight her. Despite that, Pena never doubted that the title fight would come.

“I always knew that this day would get here, and I wasn’t concerned. Mouth of the South over here had to do what I had to do to get the fight,” said Pena, in a nod to legendary pro wrestling manager Jimmy Hart. But in the end, it was all about being patient.

Might Pena’s pursuit of the champ have been a case of poking the bear too much? When asked that very question, Pena replied that “a fight’s a fight. It’s nothing personal. When you become the champ, you get a target put on your back. I would expect nothing less. You gotta assume that people are going to want to gun for your spot. That’s just the nature of the beast, that’s just the way that this game works.”

Watch the full UFC 269 media day scrum with Julianna Pena above. The event takes place this Saturday, December 11 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. More coverage can be found below.