Julianna Pena will fight whoever the UFC puts in front of her, including Ronda Rousey and teammate/coach Miesha Tate.
After winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 less than a week ago, Pena’s name appears to already be popping up in the long list of contenders for the UFC women’s bantamweight title.
During an appearance on Wednesday’s episode of UFC Tonight, the Venezuelan Vixen admitted that she was already hearing rumors of a future bout with Rousey.
“I heard that it could be a possibility. I’m just looking to get some more wins,” Pena said.
Pena breezed through the competition on TUF. She even managed to pull off a submission win over Team-Rousey favorite and longtime MMA veteran Shayna Baszler.
Outside of Pena’s rise to superstardom, perhaps the most interesting dynamic on the show was between coach and student.
Tate had trained with Pena prior to TUF, and a friendship developed between the two women. As a former world champion, Tate saw a lot of raw potential in Pena and decided to step into the mentor role for the 24-year-old fighter.
As usual in MMA, Tate’s kind gesture of inviting Pena into her gym could complicate things in the future.
What happens if the two are asked to fight each other?
With the show in the books, Pena now joins the growing roster of bantamweight women all vying for a shot at Rousey’s title, including Tate. The idea of friends fighting is a continued debate in the MMA community that typically yields split opinions.
Some fighters are able to put friendships aside and step into the cage to handle business. Others would sooner change weight classes or retire from fighting than be coerced into fighting a friend or teammate.
When asked about her position regarding a potential bout with Tate, Pena continued to imply that she was willing to fight anyone in the division: "I’ll fight whoever the matchmakers put in front of me."
Those comments should certainly put a smile on the face of UFC President Dana White, who should be able to avoid an aneurysm over another pair of teammates refusing to fight one another.
Pena obviously has her own goals to accomplish in the UFC, and she is willing to go through anyone and everyone to make her dreams a reality.