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Julianna Pena on earning Ronda Rousey fight: 'Why not me?'

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Julianna Pena arguably earned the best win of her career on Saturday night in Houston, Texas at UFC 192. She seems to recognize as much, but that doesn't mean she's necessarily thrilled with how everything turned out.

"I'm a little disappointed, for several reasons," she told the media at the post-fight press conference. "I had a couple of injuries that I wasn't too happy about coming into this fight. I feel like if I was at 100 percent, then you definitely would've seen a finish. You would've seen me capitalize a lot more.

"I got a little greedy in the fight," she continued. "I changed from a short choke to a full rear naked choke and back to a short choke again and didn't sit in on my guillotine and let it roll through when that's what I was planning on doing the whole time."

According to Pena, the injuries impacted her ability to exact the sort of game plan and style of fighting she prefers. The win isn't worthless, but Pena argued it was reflective of who she is either.

"Not getting those finishes cost me. I'm here to say that if I would've been able to pull that off, you guys definitely would've seen a finish. I'll go get it next time. A win's a win, so I'm happy with that, but at the same time, I'm a little disappointed I couldn't walk away with the finish," she noted.

That said, the win's value puts Pena on the shortlist of contenders in the women's bantamweight division, the very weight class ruled by UFC superstar Ronda Rousey. Pena called out Rousey in her post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

When asked about shooting for the stars, Pena - despite acknowledging her performance was less than satisfactory by her own standards - should be enough to put her on the shortlist to face Rousey.

"Why not look too far ahead? I did not get in this sport to be in the bottom roster. I got in this sport to let the world know I'm the toughest 135-pound female fighter in the world.

"I'm 6-0. Ronda's 6-0," she stated. "I don't think that it's out of the realm of possibility. I'm looking to be in a title shot."

After all, Pena told the media, if her opponent on Saturday had won, she'd be in the running for a title shot. Now that Pena's the victor, why can't she enjoy the same status?

"Jessica Eye, after her loss to Miesha Tate, if she would have won, would've been next in line for a title shot," Pena said.

"Why not me?"

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