Julianna Pena: I have to win and I have to do it in devastating fashion

It was sixteen months ago that Julianna Pena won The Ultimate Fighter 18 as she defeated Jessica Rakoczy by TKO in the first round and she will return to the octagon on Saturday as she meets Milana Dudieva at UFC Fight Night 63 in Virginia.UFC Fight Night 63 Poster

Pena (5-2) was scheduled to return at UFC 171 last year against Jessica Andrade, but she suffered a serious knee injury in training that kept her out of the gym for an entire year.

When she steps into the octagon on Saturday afternoon, it will have ben 490 days since her victory over Rakoczy and she stated on UFC Tonight what she needs to do against Dudieva to get everyones attention.

“I have to win and I have to do it in devastating fashion,” Pena said. “I have to get the job done as fast as possible and in brutal fashion.”

Just like Pena, Dudieva also won her UFC debut as she defeat Pena’s training partner Elizabeth Phillips at UFC Fight Night 48 by split decision. It was her third straight win and this will be her first fight since that victory. Since Pena had a training partner already face Dudieva, she has a good idea on the type of fighter see is facing.

“She’s very strong, a good judo fighter and has good leg locks,” Pena explained. “She’s got a great overhand right. She’s strong and extremely dangerous.”

Currently, Pena is ranked as the #13 contender in the UFC bantamweight rankings. With the state of the UFC women’s 135 pound division, she could be a couple of wins away at a potential fight at current UFC champion Ronda Rousey.

Since Pena won The Ultimate Fighter, people have discussed this potential matchup due to the interaction Pena had with Rousey on the show. Everyone remembers how Rousey had Shayna Baszler attempt to take Pena out of the competition, but Pena submitted her in the second round in the quarterfinals.

While the UFC title is the ultimate goal for Pena, her mind is currently on Dudieva. However, she does know that she is just a couple of wins away from fighting for the title.

“On The Ultimate Fighter, they could see we didn’t rub each other the right way,” she said. “A lot of people, in my time off, have said they’d like to see it happen. I finished all four girls I fought. Ronda’s the only other girl wrecking people like that. She’s doing a great job. But Bethe is getting the title fight because she talked trash after a couple of wins. I’m not looking past Milana. Ronda’s the one with the belt. After I get a few wins, then I’ll make it to the title.”