Julianna Pena has her sights set on Ronda Rousey. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Julianna Pena knows how to maximize her time in the spotlight.
Shortly after “The Ultimate Fighter 18” winner captured a unanimous verdict over Jessica Eye in a featured women’s bantamweight contest at UFC 192 in Houston on Saturday night, she set her sights on a much loftier conquest.
“Jessica Eye is very respectful and skilled opponent. I'm happy I got the win tonight. I’m 6-0 in the Octagon and so is Ronda Rousey,” Pena said. “Dana White keeps calling her Mike Tyson. Well, I’m Evander Holyfield.”
Pena isn’t officially 6-0 in the UFC -- her triumph over Eye improved her to 3-0 within the promotion -- but “The Venezuelan Vixen” is also including the three wins she garnered during her time on the reality show. Rousey, of course, coached opposite longtime rival Miesha Tate and Pena on “TUF 18.” The Olympic judoka is scheduled to defend her title against Holly Holm at UFC 193 on Nov. 14 in Melbourne.
“Hopefully, we'll be talking about a title shot here in the near future, or I’m in the wrong business,” Pena said. “I was disappointed I couldn't finish the rear-naked choke but I’m happy with the win.”
Pena weathered a game Eye to earn the most significant victory of her career to date, both outstriking her foe and controlling much of the action on the mat, including the aforementioned choke that nearly brought a halt to the contest. Pena also weathered an illegal knee in round two, which resulted in a one-point deduction for Eye.
It is what it is,” Pena said. “I don't make the rules but I know it was illegal and it dazed me a bit. It was down to who had more heart and that was me.”
Not surprisingly, Eye saw both the fight and the foul a little differently.
“I thought it was a split decision. I don’t know why he took away the point in the second round,” Eye said. “It was accidental and that wasn’t anything that was discussed backstage. Unfortunately I didn’t come out victorious again, so I think I need to re-evaluate some things in my life.”
Pena has now won two in a row in the UFC since coming back from a devastating knee injury that kept her sidelined for the duration of 2014.