UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate is a former training partner of fifth-ranked Julianna Pena. Tate selected Pena to be on her team during The Ultimate Fighter 18, and Pena won the tournament. They’re friends and agreed to not fight unless the title was on the line.
“We’ve discussed it several times, and we discussed it primarily right after I won The Ultimate Fighter. Because we’re friends, the deal was, the only condition that we would fight each other was if she had the belt or if I had the belt,” Pena explained to Submission Radio.
“Now that she has the belt, I know that she’s aware that that was the agreement,” she said.
If Pena had her way, she’d be facing Tate for the title in her next outing despite their friendship.
There are bigger fights than Pena for Tate right now, though. She could face former titleholder and her nemesis Ronda Rousey for a third time, or rematch former champion Holly Holm. She could face third-ranked Cat Zingano to avenge a previous loss. Fourth-ranked Amanda Nunes has also called for a shot at the belt.
Pena made her case for being the person to face Tate in Tate’s first title defense, saying the top four have already faced each other.
“The question about who I’m going to fight next is kind of interesting to everyone. All these girls have all fought each other, and they’ve all fought and beat each other. They’ve all had this sort of round-robin deal, but they haven’t beaten me,” said Pena.
“I would beat all these girls. Like I’ve said, they’ve all beat each other. All in the top five, they’ve all fought each other, and they’ve beaten each other. They haven’t beaten me. I have yet to be beaten in the UFC octagon,” she added.
Pena makes an argument to fight for the title, but she also knows that it’s unlikely to happen in her next fight. She believes the UFC wants her to fight at least one more time before getting a title shot.
“That’s the impression that I’m under is that they want me to fight one more time before I get my shot at the title. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but I’m biased,” she said.
If a fight between Pena and Tate materializes, “The Venezuelan Vixen” thinks the biggest winners would be the fans.
“What a treat that would be for you guys. I’ll leave it at that.”