Julianna Pena at the TUF 18 Finale weigh-ins. Credit: ufc.com

Julianna Pena talks road back from injury, predicts a McMann win at UFC 170


Julianna Pena spoke with FOX Sports just a matter of weeks after a horrendous injury which led to her suffering a torn ACL, MCL, LCL and meniscus, as well as a torn hamstring. UFC president Dana White was quick to respond to the news, brandishing it “the most disgusting thing I have ever heard” and stating Pena was “attacked” by her teammates for wearing UFC gear. He was also quick to speculate that the ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ would be out for up to 2 years, but this has since been dubbed an over-exaggeration.

Now, the #10 ranked women’s bantamweight in the world has spoken out about her injury, as transcribed by MMAFighting,

“The surgery was a four-hour procedure, it was very painful. I’m in a lot of pain now. I’m only about a week out from surgery so it’s still really fresh. But everything went as expected. When you’re taking and using your own patella for a reconstruction of an ACL there’s going to be a lot of pain as opposed to if you used a cadaver. So I’m in a lot of pain but I just get better every single day. I’m looking forward to more days going by so I can get better and get healthy and get to where I want to be and feel comfortable.”

This sort of positivity is testament to Pena’s fighting spirit, and was one of the key reasons the 24 year old underdog went on to win the TUF 18 competition, beating Jessica Rakoczy convincingly for the crown.

“I’ve accepted the fact that it’s happened now and the recovery process is the only thing I can focus on. Staying positive has definitely played a key role in my day to day life.”

Pena was also asked about her predictions for the upcoming UFC Women’s Bantamweight title bout between the champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Sara McMann at this weekend’s UFC 170 card. The Venezuelan had some interesting words to say on the matter,

“Wrestling beats Judo every single time. I think if there’s a wrestler out there to do it, Sara McMann is the one to be able to put it in motion. She’s a silver medalist in the Olympics and she’s as good a wrestler as you’re going to get. She’s a worthy competitor and as ready for competition as anybody. I think she stands a really good chance of winning this fight. If anyone has a good chance of winning it’s Sara McMann because of her wrestling background.”

With the champion Rousey being an overwhelming favourite, it is refreshing to see a top ranked fighter give McMann the nod in this one. She expanded on the matter,

“I don’t know how good her jiu-jitsu game is and I know Ronda is pretty good off her back so that might be the only thing to cause a threat to Sara, but I don’t see her giving up her posture and being armbarred in any sort of devastating fashion like Ronda has been able to pull off with her opponents in the past. I think she’s going to do really well against Ronda. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised with how well she does.”

We wish Julianna Pena all the best in her recovery, and hope to see her back in the Octagon very shortly.

UFC 170 is set for this weekend, with the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title on the line. Ronda Rousey, the champion, faces fellow Olympic medallist Sara McMann, with both girls looking to put the first loss on their opponent’s record.

 

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