Jessica Andrade Believes “It’s Easier To Fight Julianna Pena Than The Girls At 125 & 115 Lbs”

'Bate-Estaca' does not see the UFC bantamweight queen as a tough matchup for her

Jessica Andrade, Julianna Pena
Credit: Jessica Andrade, Julianna Pena (via Instagram & Facebook)

Jessica Andrade is the only woman to have won in all three UFC weight classes she competed in.

Andrade has managed to finish her opponents from strawweight all the way to bantamweight. The 30-year-old Brazilian does not consider the reigning 135-lbs champion Julianna Pena to be a challenge for her when compared to her lighter counterparts.

Jessica Andrade believes Julianna Pena to be an easy fight

In a recent appearance on MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, Jessica Andrade stated that a win over the woman who beat arguably the greatest women’s fighter in MMA history, Amanda Nunes, would be easier for her than going up against the lighter Valentina Shevchenko, Carla Esparza, Rose Namajunas, Weili Zhang, or Joanna Jedrzejczyk at 115 or 125 pounds.

Andrade expressed her confusion at Nunes’ performance in her loss to Pena.

“In theory, it’s easier to fight Julianna, especially for what she’s showed against Amanda. I really think it was more of Amanda [losing than Peña winning], because Amanda is way better than what she’s showed.

“She was submitted with no hooks in, you could see the pressure wasn’t too much. But I don’t know how Amanda’s weight cut was — it was two years since her last fight [at bantamweight], so something might have affected and led to that. She got tired so quickly. It wasn’t the Amanda we’re used to watching. Maybe she will show the Amanda we know in this rematch and get the belt back.”

She believes the bantamweights lack the athletic abilities of the lighter athletes.

“If that doesn’t happen, I really think it’s easier to fight Julianna than the girls at 125 and 115. I hope we get the opportunity to fight one day and it’s for the belt. I think it’s the easier matchup, no doubt.

“We’re used to fighting girls at 125 and 115, who are faster and have power in their strikes, and people at 135 are slower, I think due to their weight and how they move. So if you get them tired, it’s over. I get better round after round, I don’t get tired, I don’t slow down, and that would be a good key for me to beat Julianna and maybe win the 135-pound belt.”

Andrade wants to fight Pena

Andrade expressed her interest in going up to bantamweight and challenging for the title.

“Maybe we can risk going to 135 again in the future just so I can prove people that I really won in three weight classes, but only in the final stages of my career. It could be a cool option. Fighting Julianna could be a cool test for me. Imagine that, becoming champion at 135?

“Since there’s no one to fight me at 115 and 125, put me to fight for the belt at 135. It’s an option. I’m ready for everything. I’m living here [in Las Vegas] now, so it’s much easier. If you need me, just knock on my door and I’m in.”

Andrade was supposed to fight Peña at UFC 171 back in 2014, a few months after her first win inside the octagon over Rosi Sexton. Pena was going into the bout having recently won The Ultimate Fighter 18 but was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury that had her sidelined for years.

Raquel Pennington would step in as the short-notice replacement for Andrade, who would come out on top via decision. Andrade would then cut to 115 lbs and claim the promotional gold. She moved up and down between strawweight and flyweight in recent years, racking up wins over Amanda Lemos and Cynthia Calvillo both consecutive finishes.

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