The two women’s bantamweight contenders meet in the co-main event of UFC 297 this Saturday as they’re set to battle for the vacant title at 135 pounds. Ahead of the pay-per-view event, Bueno Silva (10-2-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) has been saying that she should’ve been fighting Julianna Peña and not Pennington (15-8 MMA, 12-5 UFC) and that fans don’t care about the “Rocky” matchup, among other things.
Although shots have been fired her way, Pennington is in no way going to get invested in her opponent’s comments.
“She’s a character,” Pennington said at UFC 297 media day on Wednesday. “All the things that she’s been saying are really entertaining me. What she just said, it’s contradicting to what I heard she’s saying. At the end of the day, she’s talking all the crap and saying all the things, and sure, maybe the fans want to see her fight Julianna because they yap a lot. They talk. Everyone wants to see that. They love the entertaining portion. That’s just not who I am, and I think about the kids and the younger generation looking up to me. It’s not about talking crap about each other. A fight is a fight. Our fists will do the talking, so I don’t feel the need to waste the extra energy.
“I don’t know who she thinks she is right now. I’ve been in this sport for a very long time, and I’ve been top 10 for the majority of my career in the UFC. For her to sit here, they were trying to find another opponent because Julianna is injured. It was supposed to be me and Julianna. So for her to think that it was supposed to be her and Julianna, I love the world she’s living in her own mind, but she’s a little confused.”
This title bout with Bueno Silva is the second time Pennington will fight for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Last time she was in this position, she was badly beaten by Amanda Nunes in 2018.
Pennington is determined to redeem herself and believes she’s in a much better position to become champion this time out.
“I honestly can’t tell you where my mental state was back in 2018,” Pennington said. “It was literally all over the board. I was coming off a long layoff, and I wanted to feel myself again. I have frustration after frustration, setback after setback. I was developing medical issues. It was one thing after another.
“As a fighter, it was like, ‘Man, I just want to be me.’ As a person being a warrior, I just wanted to be me. In my mind, I was going to be a world champion. In my heart, I didn’t feel half of anything. I didn’t feel it in my entire being. Everything was so unaligned, but it was going to happen somehow. Now the biggest difference is that I feel it in every part of me. My mind is right. My heart is right. My spirit is right. My motivation is on a different level. I just feel 100 percent different.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.