Julianna Pena: 'I Am One To Be Feared'
It's often a cliché, but Pena says that martial arts really is her life and that has been ever since she found her way into the sport.
"My coaches are trying to put the leash on me and trying to pull me back and say knock it off--calm down because they know I will keep going and going and going," Pena told SiriusXM. "I'm 110% without a shadow of a doubt passionate about MMA and I'm passionate about what I do. I eat, live, breathe, sleep MMA.
"I didn't go out there looking for fighting, to be a UFC fighter--fighting found me. It was my calling and it's been something I've been passionate about since the day I threw my very first punch and went to Jiu-Jitsu with Rick Liddle. It's something that I live for and die for."
If Pena is to continue her march towards the title, she must go through Valentina Shevchenko first, with the two meeting later this month at UFC on Fox 23 in Denver, Colorado. Shevchenko herself has won six of her last seven fights, but this seemingly doesn't' worry Pena who believes now is her time and that no one is going to be able to stop her.
"I've studied tape on this girl," Pena said in reference to Shevchenko. "I've dug up every single video from the depths of the internet on Valentina. I wake up thinking about her and I go to bed thinking about her--she's always constantly on my mind.
"It's kinda scary--the obsession that I have with her is a little bit freaky. It's because I want to prove a point to myself first and foremost that I am a force to be reckoned with in this division, like I've said from the start. I am one to be feared and you do not want to get locked in a cage with me because I'm a frickin animal. I'm a machine and I'm coming to kill you."
One of Pena's gripes is the fact that she believes the rest of the women's 135-pound division haven't show her the respect she feels she should've received given her recent run. Pena believes that will all soon change.
"I think they all underestimate me all of the time," Pena said. "All the time everybody is under estimating me and all the time everyone is disrespecting me and not giving me my credit. It makes me so angry and it puts a fire underneath my ass to make me go out there again and prove it time and time again that I am the fricking champion and that I am the rightful champion.
"It's only a matter of time and it will just be a consequence of all the hurdles and bumps that I've had to go through that I will get that title shot and get that 12 pounds to gold around my waist. It's only a matter of time."