Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena front-runners to coach the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter

The UFC is currently in the planning stages for their 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter. The promotion is trying to nail down coaches for the upcoming season. However, up until now, they’ve had difficulty finalizing coaches.

Originally, the UFC was looking at potentially having Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal coach. However, that didn’t come together and those two are now booked to face off against each other in March.

Back at UFC 269, we saw one of the greatest upsets we’ve ever seen in MMA. Julianna Pena (11-4) shocked the world when she stopped the consensus greatest of all time, Amanda Nunes (21-5) to become the bantamweight champion of the UFC.

Immediately, talks began involving the rematch. Last week, Pena hinted that she wanted to do the rematch sometime in the mid to late summer. Many raised their eyebrows at that considering the layoff time.

Now, there appears to be more clarity in those comments. Ariel Helwani reported last night that it looks like Pena and Nunes will be the coaches for the UFC’s 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

UFC’s Ultimate Fighter

The taping of the show would take place in the spring and the two would face off at the end of the show in their rematch for the UFC bantamweight championship. Likely would be in August if I was to guess the timing.

This would be a full-circle moment for Julianna Pena. We were all first introduced to Pena on The Ultimate Fighter. She was apart of the first group of female fighters to ever participate in the show and she won the whole thing.

Up until last year, Pena had a solid career in the UFC, but she was never looked at as one of the very best. Now, she’s the one that’s laughing at anyone who doubted her after shocking the world and beating Amanda Nunes.

These two have a little personal animosity towards each other and it should make for a very interesting season of TUF. While the deal isn’t finalized yet, it’s definitely trending in that direction.

Does Amanda Nunes leaving ATT signal the UFC is the favorite for Kayla Harrison?


Yesterday we learned some interesting news regarding the UFC women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes (21-5). Nunes is leaving American Top Team to start her own team in Florida after falling short and losing her bantamweight title back at UFC 269.

Nunes completely changed her career around when she started training with ATT. The news was stunning to many, but perhaps it signals a potential superfight down the road. It’s widely known that Kayla Harrison (12-0) has been one of Nunes’ main training partners at ATT.

Harrison is currently a free agent and she’s being courted by the UFC, Bellator, and PFL. However, many speculate that the UFC is the front runner. In speaking to a few folks, some believe that a Harrison signing could happen in the next week or two.

Harrison attended UFC 269 and watched Nunes take on Julianna Pena (11-4). Nunes was a massive favorite and Harrison was getting the free agent treatment. The UFC even featured her on the big screen which only occurs when the promotion is seriously interested.

However, there were questions surrounding whether Harrison and Nunes would fight considering they train together. Nunes losing to Pena also threw a wrench in that potential plan. Dana White admitted he was interested in that fight. Well, Nunes leaving ATT clears one hurdle for the UFC making the fight happen.

Will Harrison sign with the UFC?

Amanda Nunes has no competition currently in the featherweight division. Harrison would provide a massive challenge and it would make for a very compelling fight at 145 pounds. My guess is that the UFC is making a push to sign Harrison and I think they will ultimately get a deal done.

Does that mean the super fight is going to happen? I don’t believe so. The UFC is currently working on booking the rematch between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena. The immediate rematch needs to take place after Pena shocked the world and took the title from Nunes.

My guess is that the UFC would like to get Harrison in and get her a fight with the promotion. Perhaps booking her against someone like Holly Holm. While Holly Holm is certainly no pushover, I think she would struggle with the grappling skills and strength of Harrison.

On the flip side, Holm would be the first legitimate test for Harrison. Around the same time or even perhaps on the same card, the UFC could book the rematch between Nunes and Pena. If Nunes and Harrison both were to win, the superfight would be back on and the hype would have restored after hitting a speed bump in December.

Time will tell, but I’m expecting a Harrison to sign soon and I’m expecting it to be with the UFC.

UFC Predictions: Women champions after 2022

2021 was an incredible year for the women’s divisions in the UFC. We saw some tremendously dominating performances and some historic upsets. In thinking about the year, the first fight that comes to mind is the bantamweight title fight that took place at UFC 269.

The fight took place just weeks ago between Julianna Pena (11-4) and Amanda Nunes (21-5). Nunes was a monster favorite given her status at the two-division UFC champion. Nobody was really giving Julianna Pena a chance outside of Julianna Pena herself.

Well, Pena did exactly what she said she was going to do and shocked the world to become UFC bantamweight champion. 2021 also saw the return of “Thug” Rose Namajunas (11-4) to the top of the mountain. It happened back at UFC 261 when she knocked out Zhang Weili to regain the strawweight title.

She affirmed her status at the top of the mountain by defeating Weili in an immediate rematch in November. Then of course, 2021 featured the pure brilliance and dominance of the queen, Valentina Shevchenko (22-3). Shevchenko defended her title twice and won both fights by dominant stoppage.

2022 is shaping up to be another big year for the women’s divisions. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the four divisions and make predictions for who will be UFC champion at the end of the year.

UFC 2022 Predictions


The first division we are looking at is the strawweight division. Currently, Rose Namajunas is on top of the division. She has her first opponent lined up for the year, we just don’t know which date they will be fighting. Up first for Namajunas is Carla Esparza (18-6).

These two met in the first ever strawweight title fight with Esparza getting the win. However, both of these fighters are much different now and I truly believe that Namajunas is on another level. I think she’s going to easily retain her UFC title in the rematch.

Then, Namajunas will have her toughest test in my opinion. I believe her second title fight is going to come against Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2). Rodriguez is setup for a title eliminator in the first part of the year and I believe she’s going to get the job done.

After that, I’m expecting her to get a title fight. Given her style, she can really give Namajunas problems. However, I still really like “Thug” Rose’s overall game and I think Trevor Wittman will figure out a game plan to keep her UFC title.

Champion: Rose Namajunas 

Flyweight and Bantamweight

Next up, I believe we are going to see another two-division UFC champion rise up in 2022. That champion will be Valentina Shevchenko. Let me get this out of the way quickly, nobody is touching her at 125 pounds. Nobody will come close to dethroning her at flyweight and there’s really nothing to discuss.

My bold prediction is her capturing the bantamweight title. Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes are expected to run things back sometime in late spring. I believe that Nunes is going to regain her bantamweight title. However, I’m not sure she’s going to fight at 135 pounds again after beating Pena.

If she stays at 135, I think the UFC will finally do the trilogy with Shevchenko. If they do, I expect Shevchenko to get the win. Now, let’s say that Nunes vacates the bantamweight title after winning it back. If she does, I think the UFC does the rematch with Pena and Shevchenko at 135 pounds.

Just like the first time, I expect Shevchenko to get the win. Obviously if Pena wins, I still see the Shevchenko fight happening. This will be the year that Valentina moves up and captures a second world title.

Champion: Valentina Shevchenko

Featherweight – Amanda Nunes

The last division to discuss is the featherweight division. Let’s be honest, there’s no competition for Amanda Nunes currently at 145 pounds so by default, she’s going to be my pick for the featherweight division. Now, the potential add of Kayla Harrison (12-0) could make things very interesting.

The two-time PFL champion and Olympic Gold Medalist is being courted by all the major promotions. She’s Nunes’ teammate but has already said that she would fight Nunes for the UFC title to further her legacy. While not confirmed, the UFC’s original plan was to have Harrison face Nunes had Nunes won at UFC 269.

Of course, all that went out the window after Nunes lost. That said, if Harrison signs with the UFC, she will be getting a title shot in 2022. Her skillset and strength could give Nunes a ton of problems especially if Nunes isn’t in peak cardio shape.

However, with so many questions surrounding the free agency of Harrison, I’m still going to go with Nunes as the featherweight champion.

Champion: Amanda Nunes

Four UFC champions who will lose their title in 2022

2021 proved to be a wild year in the UFC. There was a ton of turnover in terms of champions. During this calendar year, we have seen a total of seven new champions. Only five champions retained their titles in their respective weight classes. One of those champions, Amanda Nunes (21-5), did lose one of her titles this year.

I was a bit surprised by the massive championship turnover in 2021. That said, there were a couple that I did see coming. To me, the most obvious one was Francis Ngannou (16-3) winning the heavyweight title by defeating Stipe Miocic (20-4). Yes, Stipe is an all time great, but I just figured it was Francis’ time.

However, there were also some massive surprises this year. A couple that immediately stand out is Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) defeating Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1). The biggest shock of the year came back at UFC 269 when Julianna Pena (11-4) shocked the world by submitting Amanda Nunes.

Now, it’s time to look forward to next year. There are 12 total divisions in the promotion and there are no two-division champions. With that in mind, which champions are most likely going to lose their status this upcoming year.

UFC champions who will lose in 2022

Aljamain Sterling

The first and most obvious choice for a UFC champion to lose is Aljamain Sterling (20-3). I mean that in no disrespect, but he’s the lone champion on the roster who really didn’t earn his championship. Sterling won the title at UFC 259 by disqualification after Petr Yan (16-2) hit him with an illegal knee.

It’s important to remember that Sterling was getting smashed by Yan when the foul took place. Not even Aljamain Sterling believes he was on his way to winning that fight. Sterling and Yan will run it back in the first part of 2022 and Sterling is a big underdog.

I don’t see any scenario where Sterling beats Petr Yan. If he somehow does, I think TJ Dillashaw (17-4) is also likely to defeat Sterling if they were to fight for the title in 2022.

Julianna Pena

The next UFC champion to lose will be Julianna Pena. I give Pena all the credit in the world for what she did at UFC 269. She shocked the world and proved everyone wrong. What’s remarkable is she won in the exact fashion in which she said she would. She defeated the GOAT and broke her during the fight.

It’s already been acknowledged that the UFC will run things back immediately. Nunes is already a massive betting favorite despite losing to Pena in the first fight. I think we are going to see the Amanda Nunes that we all thought we were going to see in the first fight when these two run it back.

It’s a great story and nobody can take that win away from Pena, but I can’t pick her to defeat Nunes in the rematch.

Glover Teixeira

Another incredible story in the UFC during 2021 was Glover Teixeira (33-7). Glover became the oldest man to ever win a UFC title for the first time when he defeated Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267. If you would’ve told me that Glover Teixeira would be a UFC champion in 2022, I would have said you were crazy.

However, I think his Cinderella run is coming to an end early in 2022. I firmly believe that the best light heavyweight in the world at the moment in Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1). Prochazka will get the first crack at Glover next year and I think he’s going to take away the title by finishing him.

Francis Ngannou

One of my favorite fighters to watch in the UFC is Francis Ngannou. He has this Mike Tyson-like vibe to him that we’ve really never seen before. He keeps you on the edge of your seat and when he puts people away, it’s usually a very scary scene.

Ngannou finally climbed to the top of the mountain in 2021 and became UFC heavyweight champion. However, he’s going to have a massive mountain to climb to keep his title in 2022. Ngannou will have to beat the two toughest matchups for him in the heavyweight division.

Next month at UFC 270, Ngannou will be taking on Ciryl Gane (10-0). Gane is unlike any heavyweight we’ve ever seen in the UFC. He’s a massive man who moves with the fluidity of a middleweight. His technique and precision will be very difficult for Ngannou to deal with.

However, Ngannou has the power to put anyone away and if he connects on Gane, he can put him out. Let’s say that Ngannou makes it past Gane. Well, then he’s going to have to face the greatest to ever do it in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Like Gane, Jones will pose a big stylistic problem for Ngannou given his skillset.

In a technical battle, Ngannou doesn’t beat Gane or Jones. That said, he can put both men out if he connects. While no one should count him out, it’s hard to imagine him beating both of them next year.

UFC: Could Miesha Tate become a factor in the flyweight division?

We are nearly a couple of weeks removed from UFC 269 where we witnessed one of the greatest upsets in MMA history. Julianna Pena (11-4) shocked the world when she defeated Amanda Nunes (21-5) to become the UFC bantamweight champion.

One person who was not surprised by the outcome was fellow UFC bantamweight and former champion Miesha Tate (19-8). Tate is a close friend of Pena’s and coached her on The Ultimate Fighter. For week’s Tate was telling anyone who would listen that Pena had a real shot to do the unthinkable.

That said, many chalked it up to bias. Now, Tate can sit around telling everyone that she told us so. Tate is in the middle of her comeback which she started this past year. The former UFC champion took some time away from the sport and resumed competing in 2021.

She’s gone 1-1 this year and she’s coming off of a loss to Ketlen Vieira. Tate believes that she’s only a win or two away from being a factor in the title picture at 135 pounds. However, Pena being the champion does make things a bit cloudy and she told that to MMA Junkie last week.

Will she challenge the UFC’s flyweight queen?

Tate told MMA Junkie that she would have to figure out what to do if she got to a title shot if Pena was still the champion. One thing she mentioned is the fact that both herself and Pena could drop an extra ten pounds to make 125. Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) reigns supreme over the UFC’s flyweight division.

Shevchenko has completely cleared out the flyweight division. It’s hard to even think of compelling matchups at this point because every top contender that’s in the division has already lost to Shevchenko in dominating fashion. That’s why there was talk of Shevchenko potentially moving up to 135 for a champion-champion fight with Nunes.

To me, the champion-champion is still there regardless of who wins between Pena and Nunes in their rematch. Shevchenko also has history with Pena as she submitted Pena a few years back. However, Tate’s potential move to the UFC’s flyweight division could make things interesting.

I was shocked when I heard Tate say that she could make 125. When she initially made her comeback, there was preliminary talk of her staying at 145 pounds but that was quickly scrapped. Now, the thought is there to drop all the way to flyweight.

I’ll tell you this, if she does make the drop, she’s right there for the title. Shevchenko needs new challengers and Tate could provide that. Tate’s size and grappling skills could also poise a unique challenge to the queen. This is definitely going to be a storyline to watch for this year.

With UFC decision looming, Kayla Harrison issues a warning to Julianna Pena


Last weekend at UFC 269, we saw one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Julianna Pena (11-4) shocked the world when she dethroned Amanda Nunes (21-5) and became the bantamweight champion of the world.

However, it wasn’t just the fact that Pena beat Nunes, it was the way she beat her. Pena stood toe-to-toe with Nunes in the pocket and backed the champion down. Nunes was forced to clinch and Pena threw her to the ground.

Once there, Pena was able to get her back and submit her. The result sent shock waves throughout the UFC audience. One member of the audience who was especially upset was the hottest free agent on the MMA scene, Kayla Harrison (12-0).

The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and PFL champion was there to watch her teammate Amanda Nunes. However, Harrison is also being courted by the UFC and was given the free agent camera treatment.

The promotion has expressed interest in booking Harrison against Nunes at 145 pounds. Dana White said after UFC 269 that a bout between Nunes and Harrison would be one of the biggest fights in women’s MMA history.

However, that’s been put on ice for the moment due to Nunes’ shocking loss. Pena was asked about Harrison this week and she labeled the PFL champion the lesser of the two referring to her and Nunes.

Harrison didn’t take kindly to those comments and she made that clear on Ariel Helwani’s MMA hour. She made it clear that if she signs with the UFC, Pena needs to watch where she steps.

Will Harrison sign with the UFC?

Harrison made it clear that Pena needs to watch what she says because she’s not one to just talk about things. She also said that she could beat Julianna Pena with one arm taken away.

Should Harrison sign with the UFC, she would be fighting at 145 pounds. Pena has never expressed interest in moving up, in fact, she’s talked about even trying to make 125 pounds to fight Valentina Shevchenko.

However, her talk of Harrison this week makes me wonder if she’d ever think of competing up in weight. If she did, Kayla Harrison would be glad to take that fight. Currently, Harrison is trying to decide where she wants to sign.

The UFC, Bellator, and PFL are all making plays to sign Harrison. She told Helwani yesterday that PFL is making the biggest financial offer which should come as no surprise. PFL has made her a start and they can’t afford to lose her.

However, she also knows that the UFC and Bellator contain a higher level of competition. She said she’s currently weighing her options factoring in compensation as well as her legacy.

When this free agency began, I thought she might end up in Bellator or resigning with PFL. However, I’m really starting to think she’s leaning towards the UFC and ultimately, I think she ends up in the octagon.

With that being said, Julianna Pena might have to see Harrison at some point.

After shocking loss at UFC 269, what’s next for Amanda Nunes?

This past weekend at UFC 269, Amanda Nunes (21-5) returned to the bantamweight division. She was defending her title against Julianna Pena (12-4) who most people weren’t giving a chance.

Admittedly, I was not giving Pena a chance on Saturday night. Nunes is considered to be the greatest female fighter of all time and for good reason. Once she hit her stride, she’s defeated all the greats at both 135 and 145 pounds.

Not only that, but nobody has been competitive with her. For that reason, UFC 269 was expected to be another cakewalk for the champion. However, it turned out to be anything but.

Nunes opened the fight strong and sat Pena down with a big jab and a leg kick. Immediately, I started thinking that it was just a matter of time before Nunes stopped Pena and retained her UFC title.

However, the second round proved to be a round that would be remembered forever. Pena stood toe to toe with Nunes on the feet and actually got the better of the champion. Pena’s jab was sharp and she was hurting Nunes.

Nunes looked incredibly discouraged and exhausted after these exchanges. She desperately clinched with Pena which resulted in Pena taking her down. Once there, Pena immediately took the back of Nunes.

Pena locked up a choke and Nunes tapped almost immediately. Julianna Pena shocked the world and became the UFC bantamweight champion.

What’s next after UFC 269?

I’m still stunned by the result days later while typing this out. I can’t believe that Amanda Nunes is no longer the UFC’s bantamweight champion and I’m sure she can’t believe it either.

When the shock is gone, the question then becomes what’s next? Well, the UFC had the plans mapped out for a Nunes win, but I don’t think they envisioned a Nunes loss.

Amanda Nunes has already made it clear what she wants next. The former UFC bantamweight champion has come out and said that she wants the rematch with Pena and that is what the promotion will move to make.

Had Nunes won, the plan was for the UFC to make the superfight with Kayla Harrison (12-0) at 145. However, the Nunes loss through a wrench into everything. While some might think this throws a wrench in the plans to sign Harrison, I think the UFC will push forward with those plans.

Now, the UFC can establish Harrison while Nunes prepares to rematch with Pena. Should Nunes run through Pena in a rematch, you can still build the superfight and chalk Nunes’ loss as being unprepared and overlooking Pena.

I expect the UFC to make the rematch pretty quickly perhaps around March or April. Don’t expect a big break before we see the rematch between the new champion and Nunes.

Julianna Pena submits Amanda Nunes at UFC 269

In the co-main event of UFC 269, the greatest female fighter of all time made her bantamweight return. Amanda Nunes (21-4) will defended her bantamweight crown for the first time in two years as she took on Julianna Pena (10-4).

For years now, Amanda Nunes has dominated everyone she’s faced in the UFC. From featherweight to bantamweight, she’s simply been the best. Nobody has seemingly wanted to fight her.

That is, everyone outside of Julianna Pena. To Pena’s credit, she’s been calling for a fight with Nunes ever since UFC 200. Pena has always said that she had the style to defeat The Lioness.

Tonight, on the heels of a win over Sara McMann, Pena got that shot. However, she might’ve been the only person who thought she was going to win at UFC 269

UFC 269 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 269 bantamweight title fight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Nunes immediately takes the center and she’s light on her toes. Pena feinting but not coming forward. Big leg kick from Nunes sits Pena down briefly.

Pena eats another leg kick as soon as she gets up. Nunes steps in and Pena fires a combination. Pena gets set down by a jab fro Nunes. The power discrepancy is huge here. Nunes throws some ground and pound, but Pena gets up and goes for a takedown.

Hip toss from Nunes and Nunes ends up on top. The champion settles into top position and she takes the back of Julianna Pena quickly. Pena is trying to defend and is able to get back to half guard. Nunes remaining patient just controlling the challenger.

Big smile from Nunes as she’s in full control here. Pena continues to try and defend and she starts attacking a kimura. However, there’s not a ton of time left here in the opening round. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Nunes at UFC 269.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 269 and Nunes is smiling from ear to ear. Body kick from Nunes starts the striking. Both women exchange jabs. Big jab from Nunes. However, Pena rocks Nunes and the crowd is going crazy.

Nunes lands a big shot and Pena backs up. Nunes is getting reckless here in teh second round and Pena lands some big counters. Oh my goodness Pena hurts Nunes again. These two are just swinging.

Pena hurts Nunes badly and Nunes looks exhausted. Pena gets the back of Nunes and locks up a choke. Nunes is exhausted and taps. Julianna Pena pulls off the biggest upset arguably in UFC history.

Julianna Pena def. Amanda Nunes by Submission – Round 2

UFC 269 Preview: Amanda Nunes – Julianna Pena

In the co-main event of UFC 269, the greatest female fighter of all time makes her bantamweight return. Amanda Nunes (21-4) will defend her bantamweight crown for the first time in two years when she takes on Julianna Pena (10-4).

What can’t you say about Amanda Nunes? She’s the greatest female fighter of all time and she has an unreal resume. She’s defeated Valentina Shevchenko (twice), Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm, Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, and more.

Her last two UFC fights were defenses of her featherweight title. The fights were so one-sided that you felt like they just weren’t even fair. We haven’t seen Nunes at 135 since her successful title defense over Germaine de Randamie.

Welcoming Nunes back to 135 is Julianna Pena. Julianna Pena might be the only person in the world who believes that she will win at UFC 269. However, that’s the kind of confidence you need when you fight Amanda Nunes.

Most of the time, Nunes has you beat before you even step into the cage. The perfect example is Megan Anderson. However, Julianna Pena is not going to be intimidated. She fights with a lot of pressure and believes she will win at UFC 269.

In her last fight against Sara McMann, we saw Pena come back from adversity. It was a close fight, but she dug down deep to get a finish. That ability to dig deep is going to be key against Amanda Nunes.

UFC 269 Prediction

As mentioned, Julianna Pena is not going to be intimidated at UFC 269. I don’t expect her to be afraid of Amanda Nunes, but that lack of fear might make this a very quick night at the office for the champion.

Julianna Pena has no chance of winning this fight at range. If she attempts to fight from kickboxing range, this fight is going to be over within two minutes. Pena has to come right out and pressure Nunes quickly to try and get the fight to the mat.

Pena’s only chance is to either tire Nunes or take her down. I don’t see either happening. In reality, this fight at UFC 269 is not getting out of the first round and if it does, I’ll be stunned.

I think that Amanda Nunes wants to send a message and remind everyone why she’s the goat. Silencing Julianna Pena would just be the icing on the cake for the champ.

Prediction: Amanda Nunes by TKO – Round 1

UFC: Miesha Tate believes she can take out Amanda Nunes

This weekend at UFC Vegas 43, Miesha Tate (19-7) will be making her second appearance since she came out of retirement. Tate returned back in July where she scored a third round TKO victory over Marion Reneau.

Tate looked really good in her return, however, it’s important to remember the competition level. At UFC Vegas 43, she’s going to get that step up in competition when she takes on Ketlen Vieira (11-2) in the main event.

If Tate can win big at UFC Vegas 43, it’s going to put her in a great position given her status in the sport. Amanda Nunes (21-4) has ran through everyone outside of Valentina Shevchenko since 2014. Nunes has gone on a run that has earned her the title of the greatest female fighter of all time.

One of the names on her hit list is Miesha Tate. The two squared off the main event of UFC 200 when Tate was the bantamweight champion. Nunes completely dominated Tate on her way to becoming bantamweight champion.

Tate wants her UFC title back

Miesha Tate seems more motivated than ever at the moment and her confidence is through the roof. She believes that she’s a better fighter physically and mentally than she was when she first fought Nunes back at UFC 200.

Tate is looking to make a statement Saturday night that puts the division and Amanda Nunes on notice. Make no mistake about it, Tate wants another shot at the champion and if she gets it, Tate believes that she can take her out.

Tate told ESPN this week, Sometimes you only get one shot and when I take that shot at Amanda, it will be the perfect timing, I’ll have the perfect aim. I will be the sniper to taker her out, but I’m not going to jump the gun.”

Worth noting that if Tate wins at UFC Vegas 43, I think she’s only going to be a win away from earning a title shot. Given the status of the rest of the division, it would be an appealing fight for fans to see.