Julianna Pena Dubs Amanda Nunes a ‘Coward’ After Running Off Into Retirement Before Completing Their Trilogy

Julianna Pena had some choice words for Amanda Nunes' following the two-division titleholder's retirement from the sport at UFC 289

Pena Dubs Nunes Coward
Pena Dubs Nunes Coward - Image credit @amanda_leoa @venezuelanvixen Instagram

Julianna Pena has dubbed Amanda Nunes a coward for retiring before they could complete their trilogy inside the Octagon.

Originally scheduled to square off with the ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ at UFC 289 on Friday night, Nunes instead put her bantamweight world title on the line against No. 5 ranked contender Irene Aldana. Throughout the 25-minute affair, Nunes asserted her dominance, outstriking Aldana more than three-to-one en route to a very decisive unanimous decision. Following the contest, Nunes announced her retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts, much to the chagrin of Pena.

Speaking with TMZ Sports, Julianna Pena shared her unfiltered thoughts on Nunes’ impromptu retirement, dubbing the general consensus women’s MMA GOAT a coward. 

“There’s unfinished business and the reality is is that Amanda retired. She had a great career, but let’s call a spade a spade. She’s a coward,” Pena said.

Pena was supposed to be the woman competing against Nunes at UFC 289, but an injury sustained during training forced her to withdraw. Instead of pushing the fight out to a later date, ‘The Lioness’ insisted on a replacement opponent, thus Aldana’s injection into the world title headliner. Pena was none too happy to hear of Nunes’ impatience and eventual retirement, robbing her of making UFC history. 

“From the very beginning, the UFC told me that she did not want to fight me and that’s why it took so long for them to make the trilogy. This is a brutal sport. There’s violence and there’s a ton of injuries that come along with it. And because I got injured, I was unable to make that fight. And I had asked her, ‘Please push this fight back. Let’s keep the trilogy going’ and when I had to pull out, but when she had COVID, I gave her six months to recover.

“It’s just unfortunate that she wasn’t able to return the favor and just wait so that she could finish her career with this trilogy. It was going to be the biggest trilogy… The only trilogy in UFC women’s MMA ever and I just think that at the end of the day with her retirement, this is something that’s going to stick in her side for the rest of her life. It’s 1-1. We’re tied up and the fact that she walked away like this, it’s unfortunate.”

Julianna Pena Won’t Wait Around For Amanda Nunes to Unretire

Fighters who retire, especially those that do so at their peak, rarely stay retired.  A recent example of that would be another former two-division UFC champion, Henry Cejudo. ‘Triple C’ emerged from the shadows after three years in an attempt to reclaim the bantamweight title last month. But don’t expect Julianna Pena to sit around waiting for Nunes to reverse her decision. 

“At this point, she’s dead to me. Good. Go. Ride off into the sunset and have a good time. We’ve got to keep sh*t pushing around here. Let’s keep this division open and alive and things are going to be exciting and opening up and my eyes are getting my hands on that gold and keeping hold of that gold until my career is over.”

As for where the bantamweight division goes from here, Pena believes she has already guaranteed a spot for herself in an eventual bantamweight title fight to crown a new queen. It’s just a matter of when she will be healthy enough to step back inside the Octagon. 

“It’s not really a question. It’s a who’s next? I’m sitting right there, front row. It’s not like they have to think about it. I’m the number one contender. I’m the former world champion. I was scheduled and slated to fight for the world title that night, so it’s not a question of am I gonna get the title shot. It’s more the fact of when am I going to be healed and when am I going to be ready to fight again.

“I’m eyeing the card at Madison Square Garden [in November]. I could be eyeing a card in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena [in December]. So it’s just a matter of when I’m ready to fight and who the opponent will be.”

Published on June 13, 2023 at 4:32 pm
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