Nearly 10 years after her first appearance on the show, Julianna Peña valued being able to experience The Ultimate Fighter without having to enter the cage.
The women’s bantamweight champion was recently interviewed by MMA Mania and got to share some of her thoughts after coaching the 30th season of TUF opposite Amanda Nunes. The 32-year-old enjoyed her time on the show, largely because she was in a position to make the decisions for her team.
“Fucking TUF was awesome,” Peña said. “It was something that I always wanted to do and check off my bucket list. I think that the biggest thing for me is I love to be in control. I’m like a Madonna, like very bossy. I like to be in charge and I like to – you know, when they say, ‘Hey, you’re the one that’s delegating things.”… I was really happy to be in that position.”
As a former contestant on Season 18, Peña is uniquely qualified to weigh-in on the overall experience of TUF. While “The Venezuelan Vixen” thinks the competitors on TUF 30 had a bit more freedom than on her season, she still appreciated the differences of being a coach compared to being a fighter.
“There was a lot of things that they were so strict with us on, that they got a lot of leeway with. And so, it was quite a contrast. I mean, after 30 seasons I think they kind of just – it’s kind of just a cookie cutter process… I think the biggest contrast I saw in my coaching versus being a contestant on the show was I had to go home every night. I got to hang out with my team, I got to be with my baby and watch TV for example. There was tons of things that I got the opportunity to do. Meanwhile, they’re stuck in prison basically.”
With the 30th season of TUF currently airing, Peña is focused on preparing for her upcoming rematch with Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 this weekend. The 32-year-old submitted Nunes at UFC 269 last year to claim the women’s bantamweight belt in one of the most significant upsets in UFC history.
What do you think of Peña’s comments about her experience coaching The Ultimate Fighter?