The UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julianna Peña admired some of the best female names in MMA during her come-up.
With a professional record of 11 wins and 4 losses and recently defeating one of the greatest women in MMA to obtain the UFC bantamweight title, Julianna Peña is becoming a star in her own right.
Peña took the MMA world by storm when she defeated Amanda Nunes at UFC 269. She started a fierce MMA career back in 2009 and is still going strong. So it is no surprise that the list of women MMA fighters she admires are/were strong competitors.
“There was, the girls that were fighting before me, while I was coming up. Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg, and Gina Carano. I loved Gina Carano. Those were the ones that I remember too,” Peña told New York Post.
Tate is a former UFC bantamweight champion who owns impressive wins against the likes of Holly Holm and Jessica Eye. In May, the former champion will face Lauren Murphy for a shot back in the winner’s circle after losing the second fight of her 2021 comeback to Ketlen Vieira.
It is also not shocking that Cris Cyborg made the list. Her name goes hand-in-hand with women’s mixed martial arts. The current Bellator bantamweight champion was in the middle of dominating her opponents when Peña was entering the professional MMA scene.
Gina Carano was an unstoppable force until Cyborg put an end to her 7-fight win streak in 2009. It was the only loss and last fight of her MMA career.
“Shayna Baszler, too. I remember buying her shirt and getting her autograph and being a fan of hers. And then I had to fight her on “The Ultimate Fighter.” I was like, ‘I’m fighting someone that I look up to! Someone that I think is really great!’It was so weird to be fighting a legend. That definitely happened,” Peña continued.
And an exciting match it was for Peña. She defeated her idol in round 2 by rear-naked choke. The current WWE star Baszler had an MMA record of 15-11.
What are your thoughts on the fighters Julianna Peña admired when she started MMA?