Julianna Pena Says Being “Most Hated in the Women’s Division” Is A Compliment

Las Vegas — Women’s bantamweight contender and former champ Julianna Pena was on hand recently for the 2024 UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony during International Fight Week, and gave a little update on when she might return to action.

On rumors of a title fight this fall, “that’s what I heard too,” stated Pena, who is widely expected to take on champ Raquel Pennington next. The pair were castmates on The Ultimate Fighter, but have yet to actually throw down.

Clarifying that no contract was signed — “I said I was waiting to sign for it” — Pena gave her thoughts on why the bout is taking so long to make. “They’re probably just making sure that both of us don’t show up like a bag of bones, doing all this promotion, and then one of us is going to fall out or something. I’m assuming that is one of the reasons.”

Pena, who has always been a lightning magnet for controversy among her peers, also addressed some of the animosity between herself and her fellow fighters.

“The only big name I know is mine. That’s the only big name I know. That being said, I think it’s a compliment that I’m the most hated in the women’s division, that they all want to fight me. It’s not just her, it’s every single one of those gals. They always underestimate me, they think that I’m just some layup fight or they’re just going to walk all over me. And they’re always in for a rude awakening when that isn’t the case.”

Watch the full media scrum with Julianna Pena at the 2024 UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony above.