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Julianna Peña expects UFC title fight vs. Raquel Pennington in October

Julianna Pena says she will likely challenge UFC bantamweight champion Raquel Pennington in October.

Peña (11-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) will look to reclaim her bantamweight title when she faces fellow Season 18 “Ultimate Fighter” alum Pennington (16-8 MMA, 13-5 UFC). Peña says the current timing for their title fight is UFC 307 on Oct. 5 in Salt Lake City.

“I think it’s going to be in the fall for sure,” Peña told MMA Junkie Radio. “That’s all I know. I think maybe they were looking towards October. I don’t know if it’s been announced yet, and I don’t want to be that person that leaks the fight, but I’m definitely hearing October. I think it’s going to be in Salt Lake City if I’m not mistaken.”

After Amanda Nunes retired and vacated her belt, Pennington rallied to outlast Mayra Bueno Silva to claim the vacant bantamweight title at UFC 297. Peña credits Pennington for her toughness – an attribute she’s proven to have, as well.

“I think that Raquel’s biggest strength is her durability,” Peña said. “Just being strong and being able to fight anywhere, and that’s kind of what my strength and skillset is as well. It doesn’t matter who we’re fighting. We’re going to be always in the fight, and you can never count either one of us out. So I love that about Raquel, and I think that’s her strong suit, that she’s just extremely durable.”

Peña hasn’t competed since losing her bantamweight title to Nunes at UFC 277 in July 2022. The pair were scheduled for a trilogy bout at UFC 289, but Peña pulled out due to broken ribs. Nunes faced Irene Aldana instead and retired after defeating her.

Peña was in attendance for Nunes’ retirement and received plenty of flack for booing her. “The Venezuelan Vixen” plans on beating Pennington then luring Nunes (23-5 MMA, 16-2 UFC) out of retirement.

“I was booing, and I had every right to boo because I know that she’s not done,” Peña said. “I know that she’s going to come back, so when I win the title, I absolutely will be making that fight. I definitely think that a trilogy fight with me and Amanda far proceeds any fight that I can make with any other woman in the division.”

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