Amanda Nunes Calls Julianna Pena 'Delusional' Ahead of UFC 269 Fight

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 8, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 06: Amanda Nunes of Brazil reacts after her victory over Megan Anderson of Australia in their UFC featherweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes called challenger Julianna Pena "delusional" ahead of their title fight at UFC 269 on Saturday night.

Nunes, who also holds the women's featherweight belt, told TMZ Sports in an interview released Wednesday she doesn't think the division's third-ranked challenger represents a major threat.

"Honestly, I don't see this fight going to the judges at all," Nunes said. "Honestly. I'm very sharp. I know she's gonna make a lot of mistakes like she always does. ... I know I'm gonna catch her many times."

UFC's top pound-for-pound women's fighter added she's not buying a lot of what Pena has said leading up to the fight but made it clear she'll be ready once the opening bell rings.

"[Julianna] is delusional, but it doesn't mean I'm not taking her seriously. I do," Nunes told TMZ. "I trained very hard and very smart, I'm very sharp for her. A lot of things she says are not true, she's being delusional."

Pena has spoken out about what she perceives as unfair treatment in favor of Nunes, who hasn't defended the bantamweight title since a December 2019 win over Germaine de Randamie.

She said on MMA Fighting's The MMA Hour podcast last month not being stripped of the belt after a period of inactivity isn't fair to the rest of the division's fighters:

"When you're the champ and you have beat everybody that they put in front of you so far, you can do whatever you want, you can do wrong. I would be, I'm sure, when I get there, pulling the same moves. But at the same time, if you're not going to fight for the belt at 135 pounds, and if the weight cut is an issue, or if you don't want to come down and compete at this weight class any more, then we've got to keep the division pushing.
"I think other fighters that have had the belt have been stripped for less. [Former UFC flyweight champion] Nicco Montano didn't even get a break at all. They were just like, 'You're done.' So they stripped her right away. And in the men’s division, too, I feel like they strip people a lot faster."

The 32-year-old from Spokane, Washington, added: "For whatever reason, she's done a lot for the division, so she can basically get away with murder, and everyone else has to eat it."

Pena (10-4) is coming off a victory over Sara McMann in January, but faces an uphill battle in her quest to upset Nunes (21-4) to become a UFC champion for the first time.

Their bout is set to co-headline Saturday's card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas alongside the men's lightweight title fight between champion Charles Oliveira and challenger Dustin Poirier.