Some friendships aren’t worth risking.
For Miesha Tate and Julianna Pena, the teammates aren’t wanting to put it all on the line against each other for a UFC Championship. Instead, the former and current bantamweight queens have something else in mind.
Julianna Pena did something that Miesha Tate couldn’t at UFC 269. She would defeat the ‘GOAT’ Amanda Nunes by rear-naked choke, after stunning her on the feet. This is how Tate’s fight against Nunes would go, but she’d be on the receiving end instead.
The Landscape At 135
With Tate’s close teammate now the UFC Champion, they are looking at contingencies for the future. A contingency that involves them not fighting each other at 135. Not overlooking ‘The Lioness’, she knows Pena will have to take care of that business again.
“This definitely changes the entire landscape of the bantamweight division,” Tate told MMA Junkie. “I think what will be next will be Amanda and Julie. All signs point to that will be the next fight and I think Julie wins that fight again, especially because Amanda has already been broken by her once. I believe Julianna can definitely do that again, probably with more ease the second time. I need to get in the win column again so I will probably fight in March, probably is what I’m looking at. I don’t want to fight Julie because I’ve rooted for so long for her to get there.
“A lot can change between now and then, so I have to win and do my job so I think what really I’ve got to do is win and focus on that. If Julie’s still the champion by the time that I get there, then I think that’s a conversation we have at that time. I’ve probably got to get two wins until I’m looking at a championship fight, at least, so I’ve got to focus on me and I’m going to continue to cheer on Julie and pray that we don’t ever have to fight each other.”
Tate, while happy that Pena is champ, she realizes she can’t regain gold with her teammate on the throne. And it’s not like they’ll fight each other. ‘Cupcake’ is contemplating a situation where both women will be happy. Let’s just say it will involve less icing on the cupcake.
“I know that Julianna can make 125 and I can make 125. There’s also those things too. It’s not out of the question for either of us to go hunting Valentina (Shevchenko) at some point.
“There’s lots of dynamics. I know she really wants that fight too so we’d have to see what happens if everything continues to play out in that direction, there’s always that possibility of us going to 125 for either of us too.”
Exploring The Option
Flying down to flyweight wouldn’t be the best option in terms of their health and lifestyle, but it’s a risk they are willing to take, depending on what happens at bantamweight in 2022. ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ has already expressed much interest in getting revenge against Valentina Shevchenko at 125, so it’s not out of the question for her.
If Pena loses to Nunes once or twice in 2022, the trip-up could send her down to 125lbs, while Tate looks to get a title shot once more at 135.
“It’s something I’ve definitely thought about, but I definitely don’t want people thinking that I’m running at 135,” Tate said. “I hate the idea of leaving a division on a loss. It really bugs me. Something really bothers me about that, leaving the division on a loss. It’s something I’ve thought about, but at the same time, I feel like I need more time to digest all of that. It’s not out of the question by any means, but it would be a long process to get down to 125. I’ve been pretty vocal that I’m not a fan of big weight cuts, so I would probably have to do some things to change my body to get down to that weight, but it’s not something that’s way out in left field.
“It’s definitely something I feel like it would be an option. I just have to decide to. I’m definitely leaning toward staying at 135 especially given the change-ups, but it’s definitely not something out of the question.”