Kayla Harrison was “heartbroken” for teammate Amanda Nunes following her bantamweight title loss to Julianna Pena at UFC 269, and she also didn’t appreciate what the newly crowned champion had to say about her afterward.
UFC 269 proved to be Peña’s night as she engaged in a slugfest with the hard-hitting Nunes and came out the winner after a fatigued Nunes quickly tapped out to a rear-naked choke 3:22 into the second round. Despite the impressive nature of Peña’s stunning upset performance, Harrison believes it was just a one-time thing.
“I still think that if they fought 10 times, nine times out of 10 Amanda starches her,” Harrison told TMZ. “But sometimes it’s just not your night no matter what you do, no matter how hard you prepare, no matter how good you feel, how confident you are. Sometimes things just don’t go your way.”
As a result, Peña (11-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is now reveling in her championship win after a long road to the top, which included reconstructive knee surgery in 2014 and a two-and-a-half-year layoff following pregnancy and the birth of her daughter.
Julianna Peña says ‘mom champ’ remark wasn’t dig at Amanda Nunes, ‘words misinterpreted’
Amanda Nunes after UFC 269: ‘I undoubtedly accept the rematch’ with Julianna Peña
Chael Sonnen says Amanda Nunes quit vs. Julianna Peña, calls UFC 269 loss ‘100 percent mental beating’
Harrison, who sat cageside at UFC 269, remains a free agent after winning her second PFL women’s lightweight championship Oct. 27. Since then, she’s met with Bellator president Scott Coker and most recently top UFC officials during UFC 269 fight week. While UFC president Dana White indicated that Nunes’ loss might’ve spoiled an opportunity to book a showdown with Harrison, it’s still possible she signs with the UFC.
If that happened, would Peña be interested in fighting Harrison? She seemed to big-time her when asked by MMA Junkie.
“I think she’s the lesser of the training partners for her and Amanda Nunes,” Peña said. “If that’s the case and I just took out Amanda, I don’t know what kind of position that would put her in. But she’s been fighting the B-leagues. I’ve been fighting in the UFC. I’ve been fighting at the top of the division. I’m fighting in the biggest league of this sport, so I’m not paying too much attention to what she’s doing down there.”
Harrison (11-0) caught wind of those words and did not appreciate them.
“I think that Julianna, you know, congrats to her for her victory. I know she must be on Cloud 9 right now, and I would just caution her to be careful,” Harrison said. “You don’t say stuff like that to people like me unless you mean it. This isn’t like a Conor McGregor ‘let’s just talk a little sh*t’ – no. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
Harrison also said any talk of a fight with Peña is “dumb” considering she’s a lightweight and Peña a bantamweight. But still, Harrison warns, “be careful what you say.”
“I have a lot of respect for (Peña), as well,” Harrison said. “She went out there and executed a great game plan, and she did what she had to do. But I’m not the ‘lesser’ of anything or anyone or anybody. When I come to fight, you’re gonna know you’re in a fight.”
Julianna Pena def. Amanda Nunes at UFC 269: Best photos
view 14 images