Julianna Nicole Peña (born August 19, 1989) is an American professional mixed martial artist who competes in the bantamweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where she is the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion. Peña is the first woman to win The Ultimate Fighter. As of August 1, 2022, she is #1 in the UFC women's bantamweight rankings, and as of September 5, 2023, she is ranked #4 in the UFC women's pound-for-pound rankings.
|Born||Julianna Nicole Peña|
August 19, 1989
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
|Other names||The Venezuelan Vixen|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Weight||135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)|
|Reach||69 in (175 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|Team||SikJitsu (2008–present) |
Luiz Claudio Combat Team
Valle Flow Striking (2016–present)
Gregory Boxing & Muay Thai
|Rank||Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Luiz Claudio|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
The youngest of four siblings, Julianna was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. Julianna graduated in 2007 from Mt. Spokane High School. She then attended Spokane Community College. In order to lose weight and channel aggression in her early adulthood, she enrolled in a cardio kickboxing class and subsequently transitioned to mixed martial arts.
Mixed martial arts career edit
Early career edit
After going 2–0 as an amateur, Peña made her professional MMA debut in May 2009. She won four consecutive fights but suffered her first defeat in April 2012 to future fellow The Ultimate Fighter 18 cast member Sarah Moras in a 140-pound catchweight bout. The fight took place just two months and one week after Peña was involved in an accident with a drunk driver while walking in downtown Spokane in which she was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken nose. Ten months later she returned to professional competition in a fight in the flyweight division, a move down from the bantamweight division, losing by unanimous decision.
The Ultimate Fighter edit
During the first tournament fight in the house, Peña faced veteran and top-ten ranked Shayna Baszler. Ronda Rousey selected this match-up between the two first female picks. The highly ranked and more experienced Baszler was widely considered the favorite. After a back and forth first round in which Peña landed effective boxing combinations and escaped several of Baszler's submission attempts, Peña came out hard in the second round, connecting with powerful knee strikes that staggered Baszler. The fight went to the ground, where Peña was able to achieve back mount and won via rear naked choke for perhaps the biggest upset victory of the season.
In the semifinals, Peña faced off against Sarah Moras. The two fought previously in a professional bout in 2012, with Peña losing after suffering an injury due to an armbar which forced the doctor to stop the bout between the second and third rounds. Peña won the fight via guillotine choke in the second round to avenge the loss.
Ultimate Fighting Championship edit
Peña faced Jessica Rakoczy in the finals on November 30, 2013, at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale. She won the bout via TKO in the final seconds of the first round and became TUF 18 women’s bantamweight champion.
Peña was expected to face Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 on March 15, 2014. However, Peña pulled out of the bout after suffering an injury to her right knee. She suffered the injury while grappling in training, ultimately damaging, among other aspects, her ACL, MCL, LCL and meniscus. Despite the severity of the injury, doctors assured Peña that her right knee would return to full strength following surgery and rehabilitation. The injury kept Peña out of action for the rest of 2014.
UFC return edit
Peña returned to face Milana Dudieva on April 4, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 63. She won the fight via TKO in the first round. The win also earned Peña her first Performance of the Night bonus award.
On October 14, 2017, Peña announced that she was pregnant and would be taking an indefinite hiatus from the sport. On July 13, 2019, at UFC Fight Night 155, nearly two and a half years from her last bout, she returned and faced former UFC Women's Flyweight Champion Nicco Montaño, replacing an injured Sara McMann. She won the fight via unanimous decision.
Peña was expected to face Sara McMann on January 16, 2021, at UFC on ABC 1 before being pushed back a week later to UFC 257 on January 24, 2021. Peña won the fight via submission in round three.
Bantamweight champion edit
Peña was expected to face Amanda Nunes for the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship on August 7, 2021, at UFC 265. However Nunes tested positive for COVID-19 on July 29, 2021. The bout was rescheduled to UFC 269 on December 11, 2021. After a dominant round one from Nunes, Peña came back in the second to win the bout and championship by rear-naked choke submission in what is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
On February 5, 2022, it was announced that Peña and Nunes would be the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 30 on ESPN+, which would feature contestants from the heavyweight and women's flyweight divisions.
A trilogy bout with Amanda Nunes was scheduled to take place on June 10, 2023, at UFC 289. However, on May 2, 2023, it was announced that Peña pulled out of the bout due to broken ribs she sustained during training camp. Irene Aldana, who was scheduled to headline UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Hill, was subsequently chosen to replace her.
Film and television edit
Personal life edit
In January 2018, Peña gave birth to her first child, a daughter.
Legal issues edit
On December 20, 2015, Peña was arrested in Spokane, Washington and charged with two counts of assault due to an altercation with bar staff following an earlier street fight in which Josh Gow, her training partner on the Sikjitsu fight team, had been injured. A judge later granted a stipulation order of continuance in her case such that if Peña had no other incidents for a year, the case would be dismissed.
Championships and accomplishments edit
Mixed martial arts edit
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Cageside Press
- LowKick MMA
- 2021 Female Fighter of the Year
- Bleacher Report
- MMA Sucka
- Yahoo! Sports
- Daily Mirror
- Lowkick MMA
- World MMA Awards
Mixed martial arts record edit
|16 matches||11 wins||5 losses|
|Loss||11–5||Amanda Nunes||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 277||July 30, 2022||5||5:00||Dallas, Texas, United States||Lost the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||11–4||Amanda Nunes||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC 269||December 11, 2021||2||3:26||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship. Performance of the Night.|
|Win||10–4||Sara McMann||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC 257||January 24, 2021||3||3:39||Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates|
|Loss||9–4||Germaine de Randamie||Technical submission (guillotine choke)||UFC on ESPN: Holm vs. Aldana||October 4, 2020||3||3:25||Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates|
|Win||9–3||Nicco Montaño||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: de Randamie vs. Ladd||July 13, 2019||3||5:00||Sacramento, California, United States|
|Loss||8–3||Valentina Shevchenko||Submission (armbar)||UFC on Fox: Shevchenko vs. Peña||January 28, 2017||2||4:29||Denver, Colorado, United States|
|Win||8–2||Cat Zingano||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 200||July 9, 2016||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||7–2||Jessica Eye||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 192||October 3, 2015||3||5:00||Houston, Texas, United States||Eye was deducted one point in round 2 due to an illegal knee.|
|Win||6–2||Milana Dudieva||TKO (punches and elbows)||UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas||April 4, 2015||1||3:59||Fairfax, Virginia, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||5–2||Jessica Rakoczy||TKO (punches)||The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate Finale||November 30, 2013||1||4:59||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won The Ultimate Fighter 18 Bantamweight Tournament.|
|Loss||4–2||DeAnna Bennett||Decision (unanimous)||Showdown Fights 10||February 8, 2013||3||5:00||Orem, Utah, United States||Flyweight bout.|
|Loss||4–1||Sarah Moras||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Conquest of the Cage 11||April 19, 2012||2||5:00||Airway Heights, Washington, United States|
|Win||4–0||Rachael Swatez||Submission (guillotine choke)||Conquest of the Cage 10||December 15, 2011||2||0:17||Airway Heights, Washington, United States|
|Win||3–0||Stephanie Webber||Submission (armbar)||CageSport 8||December 5, 2009||2||2:54||Tacoma, Washington, United States|
|Win||2–0||Robyn Dunne||TKO (punches)||IFC: Caged Combat||August 15, 2009||1||N/A||Penticton, British Columbia, Canada|
|Win||1–0||Raylene Harvey||Submission (rear-naked choke)||ExciteFight||May 9, 2009||1||2:58||Spokane, Washington, United States|
|Exhibition record breakdown|
|3 matches||3 wins||0 losses|
|Win||3–0||Sarah Moras||Submission (guillotine choke)||The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate||November 13, 2013 (air date)||2||3:31||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||The Ultimate Fighter 18 semi-final.|
|Win||2–0||Shayna Baszler||Submission (rear-naked choke)||September 11, 2013 (air date)||2||3:07||The Ultimate Fighter 18 preliminary round.|
|Win||1–0||Gina Mazany||Decision (unanimous)||September 4, 2013 (air date)||2||5:00||The Ultimate Fighter 18 elimination round.|
Pay-per-view bouts edit
|1.||UFC 277||Peña vs. Nunes 2||July 30, 2022||American Airlines Center||Dallas, Texas, United States||Not Disclosed|
See also edit
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