UFC president Dana White recently offered his take on Julianna Pena's mindset during her first fight against Amanda Nunes at UFC 269. He admitted that he was not surprised that Pena was ready to lay her life on the line if it had come to that.
Pena and Nunes locked horns with each other in the co-main event last December. 'The Venezuelan Vixen' pulled off an upset win, submitting heavy favorite Nunes in the second round.
While in conversation with Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole, Dana White commented on the mindset that she had carried with her inside the octagon, treating the fight as a do-or-die situation.
When asked if her attitude surprised him, White said that it did not. He subsequently recalled an interaction he had with Pena in a gym, way before she won The Ultimate Fighter, where she introduced herself to him as a future UFC champion.
"No, it does not surprise me. Many years ago, my kids were little, they were in a jiu-jitsu tournament here in Las Vegas. Julianna Pena walked across this gym, walked up to me, put her hand out and said, 'Hey, I'm Julianna Pena. I'm going to be your next world champion.' And I was like, 'Okay nice to meet,' you, you know, whatever. Then she came on The Ultimate Fighter. She won The Ultimate Fighter and, you know, she's always believed in herself, manifested this, you know, position that she's in now."
Catch Dana White's discussion with Kevin Iole below:
Julianna Pena reacts to fans calling her UFC 269 win 'the biggest upset in history'
In a recent interaction with ESPN MMA's Brett Okamoto, Julianna Pena issued a strong response to fans who have been calling her win against Amanda Nunes an upset.
'The Venezuelan Vixen' declared that she had no doubt in her mind that she was destined to walk out of the octagon with the UFC women's bantamweight title draped over her shoulder.
"I think it's, like, cute, in the sense that, like, 'The biggest upset in history.' But, like, no, I was 110% fully committed to walking out of there with my hand raised and with that belt that night. I was not going to be denied and there was going to be no other outcome. I had seen it in my dreams."
Check out Pena's full interaction with Brett Okamoto below:
Julianna Pena is heading towards a rematch against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277. The main event clash will offer her the opportunity to silence those treating her title win as a fluke. The action is set to unfold at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on July 30.