Former Atomweight Champ Jessica Penne Moved Up a Weight Class for the Ultimate Opportunity

August 7, 2014
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Jessica_PenneWhen opportunity knocks, you still have to answer the door. Former Invicta FC atomweight champion Jessica Penne couldn’t pass up the chance to compete on The Ultimate Fighter 20, even if it meant going up a weight class.

“I think I’m the best fighter at 105, and it was time to go up to another weight class and try it out. The opportunity, I couldn’t pass up. That had a big part of it. It’s such an amazing opportunity,” the 31-year-old athlete recently told “Who could pass it up?”

Prior to the announcement that TUF 20 would feature an all female strawweight cast, Penne had no intentions of changing divisions.

“I really hadn’t. I was asked if I would be interested and I said no. And then I found out about the show, so I went and tried out,” she said.

Penne believes she has an advantage over the rest of the cast heading into the house. Most TUF contestants drop a weight class after appearing on the reality series. The format of having to cut weight and fight several times in a short period of time makes it difficult for some fighters to be successful on the show. We’ve seen several fighters miss weight in recent seasons.

“I definitely think it’s an advantage to not have to worry about weight. I’ll have to diet down just a little bit because I did try to put on some good size, and I was successful in that,” said Penne.

“I think the people that have had the most success in previous seasons are people that have gone up in weight class rather than going down, or fighting at their normal weight class,” added the California native.

If she’s successful, and makes a winning run through the show, Penne would be rewarded with the first ever UFC strawweight championship belt. But only time will tell if she opened the correct door.  The Ultimate Fighter 20: Team Pettis vs. Team Melendez premiers on Sept. 10 on Fox Sports 1.

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  • Mackie Rodger

    “I think I’m the best fighter at 105”

    Sorry, Jessica. The best fighter at 105 is the one who literally knocked the teeth out of your head then armbarred you into submission before she took your belt.

    That would be Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson. SHE’S the best fighter at 105.

    • t1cent

      Really, then why did Waterson run scared from Jessica until she changed weight class? Jessica asked for a rematch and Waterson declined, now she’s going to fight a basic unknown from Japan…wimp!!!

      • t1cent

        BTW…armbar has nothing to do with the head…literally!

      • Mackie Rodger

        Invicta had 2 cards in the past year and a half. No contenders were available and Penne got finished, so she didn’t deserve a rematch.

        Invicta being a bunch of fuckups until the UFC Fightpass thing doesn’t equal “running” on Waterson’s part.

        After this tune-up fight she’s gonna demolish Seo Hee Ham or Hamasaki or whatever contentder they put up against her.

    • Coach W

      gotta agree with T1cent… Waterson has avoided having to defend her title.. Penne has fought 2 or 3 times, and won, now she’s involved with TUF 20, moving up in weight to show that she’s not afraid of anyone. Meanwhile Waterson attempted to be a Ninja on America Ninja Warrior, that was entertaining, all the press she received yet, she couldn’t finish the first, most very basic obstacle. To say Waterson “literally” knocked the teeth out of Penne, that’s not the fight I saw. I, along with the commentators saw Penne turn into the arm bar. Waterson just isn’t that impressive, lately she looks chubby, maybe she should move up a weight class, I heard the 125 class is fairly weak, maybe she could surprise someone up there. The “hottie” just isn’t that hot right now, boring !!

      • Mackie Rodger

        End of the second round (which Waterson absolutely dominated) you can see the bridgework fly out of Penne’s mouth as she gets smashed. Big John had to pick it up off the floor.

        Penne has had one fight against the overrated Night Queen… not 2 or 3 fights. Get your facts straight.

        If Waterson’s so unimpressive, why is the UFC putting on private press luncheons for her at their headquarters and has UFC bigwigs saying she’s the next big thing in WMMA?

  • InTheColosseumTonight

    I know these tiny women could kick by butt, but atomweight sounds so…cute.