UFC champion Julianna Pena labels Ronda Rousey as a sellout
UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Pena has called out Ronda Rousey for selling out by joining the WWE.
The comment from the current champion came days after Rousey was beaten at WrestleMania by Charlotte Flair. Pena during an interview with Ariel Helwani said that “[Rousey is] kind of a joke in the MMA world now, because she’s a — what is the word? — sellout.”
The comments are understandable as Rousey was the first female fighter to be signed by the UFC and the first female UFC champion, but she lost her last two UFC fights by knockout and left the UFC as a result.
During her reign, there was not a fighter that even challenged Rousey. Only Miesha Tate took Rousey out of the first round and that was their second time fighting. Rousey became a star in the UFC for finishing opponents in less than a minute and that is something that Pena noted about the former champion.
“What’s incredible about her is that she opened up the door and was destroying people in 10 seconds, and became a star because she was demolishing people in the first round,” said Pena.
Pena went on to question how legitimate was Rousey since she never tried to get back from her two losses and instead went into the WWE. The current champ won the belt after beating the women’s MMA GOAT Amanda Nunes. Nunes was the last person to fight Rousey and knocked out the American in 48 seconds.
This was not the first time that UFC fighters have mocked Rousey as both Cris Cyborg and Nunes made fun of Rousey following her loss to Nunes in 2016.
There is a lot of respect for Rousey for what she had done for women’s fighting in the UFC, but the move to the WWE after losing two straight took a lot from her legacy. There are former fighters such as Chael Sonnen who have however praised Rousey for making the move to the WWE look so effortless. I wonder if that has anything to do with her acting skills in Furious 7 and The Expendables 3 both of which she was in while still a part of the UFC.
Rousey was one of two fighters that Pena called out this week in the interview with Helwani along with PFL legend Kayla Harrison. Harrison has been running through the PFL going 12-0 overall and looked poised to move into the UFC. That has not happened and likely won’t now as she has signed a multi-year extension to stay with the promotion.
“How easy is it to say, ‘I’ll beat Julianna with one arm tied behind my back,’ and then sign a seven-year contract to PFL right after, the next day,” said Pena. “She just signed her life away to PFL. So best of luck with that. I hope it’s good. Make your career off of beating tomato cans. That’s great.”
There was hope that Harrison would move to the UFC to fight either Pena or her predecessor Nunes, but that has since gone away. Harrison is the #7 ranked fighter on ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings and is one of two fighters in the ranking not to be competing in the UFC along with Cyborg, who sits at #4.
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