Raquel Pennington has fired back at former NFL star Ryan Clark for suggesting that the UFC should terminate her division.
Pennington (16-8 MMA, 13-5 UFC) defeated Mayra Bueno Silva (10-3-1 MMA, 5-3-1 UFC) by unanimous decision to capture the vacant women’s bantamweight title in the UFC 297 co-main event. Clark, who works as an ESPN NFL analyst but also dabbles in MMA with Daniel Cormier, was harsh in his reaction to Pennington’s title win, calling the fight awful. He then went on a rant explaining why the UFC should consider scratching the division as a whole.
“It looked like a fight between two people who got a game plan, and as they were walking to the octagon, they said, ‘F*ck the game plan, I’m going to do whatever the hell I want to do,'” Clark said on a recent episode of “DC & RC.” “Two people who knew good and dang well it’s no way they should be fighting for a championship. If that is what’s going to be the highest level of bantamweight division for the UFC, there should be a serious discussion of getting rid of it.”
Pennington responded to Clark’s criticism by simply stating that the former Super Bowl champion can’t relate.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care what people say. I’m not here for their expectations and to live up to that,” Pennington said on Sirius XM’s “Unlocking the Cage.” “I’m here for me, conquering goals, achieving things for myself. Like I said, we’re fighting. Everything can be different. People can criticize, but it’s a lot of people who wouldn’t step in our shoes for 10 seconds. They have no clue what it’s like.”
Pennington was criticized for not pulling the trigger on a seemingly exhausted Bueno Silva. Currently on a six-fight winning streak, Pennington says she still has a lot more to give.
“I went out there, got the job done, but I have so much more to offer,” Pennington said. “I have a ton of experience here, I’ve been in multiple different fights, I have submission finishes, so there’s a lot more that’s coming. For everybody else who just wants to talk, keep sitting on your couch and talking and criticizing because you’re not living in our shoes.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.