It’s one of the most cliché sayings in MMA that what makes the sport so great is that anything can happen, that even the most invulnerable seeming Goliaths can be have their careers upended by the lowliest of Davids. Well, on Saturday night at UFC 269, MMA fans were treated to a stark examples of this when Julianna Peña shocked the world by submitting Amanda Nunes in the second round to become the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion.
Practically no one gave Peña a chance to unseat Nunes, who was a -1000 favorite heading into the bout, and so in the aftermath of seeing the greatest female fighter of all time lose, many are questioning whether or not this is the greatest upset in UFC history. And while many think it could be, UFC Hall of Famer, Michael Bisping, thinks Peña’s win does not take the top spot.
“In terms of the Peña-Nunes upset - which it was an upset, it was a huge upset, a lot of people said it’s one of the biggest upsets of all time that we’ve ever seen in the UFC. I disagree,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “I think Julianna Peña should be extremely proud of herself. Of course, she just became a champion, she just realized a dream. She defeated the female GOAT. An incredible achievement, BUT it’s not the biggest upset.
“Matt Serra beating Georges St-Pierre, I think it tops (Peña-Nunes). I think according to the bookies it was the biggest upset of all time and then when you consider the fact that Matt Serra wasn’t even a current UFC fighter. Matt Serra at the time had been released from the UFC, came back, won the ultimate fighter, that’s how he got a shot at the belt, and I don’t think anyone gave him a hope in hell of beating Georges St-Pierre and he went out there and absolutely demolished him. So that’s my No. 1.”
Bisping is far from alone in his assessment. Matt Serra’s upset over Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69 is widely considered to be the biggest upset in UFC history. It was the one fight UFC President Dana White mentioned as such when asked about Peña’s win, saying that Peña-Nunes “is up there” with it in terms of upsets. Of course upsets are somewhat colored by hindsight and Serra-GSP has only looked more stunning over the years as St-Pierre reclaimed the title with a dominant performance over Serra a year after losing the belt. And according to Bisping, we might be in for something similar here.
“I think she’ll come back and I think she’ll fight Julianna Peña and I think she beats Julianna in a rematch,” Bisping said. “In that first round, she outclassed Julianna. She was the better person, she put her down twice, she controlled her in the clinch, she controlled her on the ground. It was a good round for Nunes but she got tired. She got tired, you could clearly see it. And also she showed a little naivety, she showed a little lack of experience, she showed a little - she didn’t show the best fight I.Q.
“When you’re in a fight - and I’ve been there many times - when you’re in a fight, you’re in the UFC, you go in there and it’s a big fight, a main event or whatever, there’s thousands of people and you’re the f*cking star and things don’t go your way and BANG you get caught with a shot and you’re rocked, what we saw Nunes do - and it’s commendable and the crowd loved it and they’re all screaming and cheering - she just stood there swinging back and forth.... What Nunes should have done was be a little bit more crafty. She should have got on her bike, use her footwork to be a little bit more elusive, dance around the octagon a little bit, get your equilibrium back...
“Nunes probably beats her in the rematch. I’m not taking away from what she did. I honestly believe Nunes will beat her in the rematch.”
If the rematch is indeed what is next. In his post-fight press conference, Dana White said that the rematch is what they will want to do it Nunes wants it, and Peña said after the fight that she’s happy to rematch Nunes whenever the UFC wants, but the question is, what does Amanda Nunes want? In her post-fight interview, Nunes admitted that she “checked out” during the fight and, noticeably, she did not call for a rematch (though she did say she would go back to the gym and “come back strong”). Heading into UFC 269, there were some rumblings of Nunes, who became a mom last year, retiring from the sport soon and it’s possible that this loss is the catalyst for her doing so. Bisping doesn’t believe that though.
“I think Amanda Nunes will 100 percent go in there and fight Julianna Peña a second time,” Bisping said. “You can’t deny her heart, you can’t deny the body of work that Amanda Nunes has had, the skill that she’s got. You can’t deny any of that. She made some mistakes Saturday night. She got caught up in the moment, she wanted to fight fire with fire, she ran out of steam, she got gassed. You can blame it on Covid, you can blame it on whatever you want, but she got beat. Julianna Peña was the better person on the night. Nunes is gonna want to get that back, she’s gonna want to get that belt back and get her respect back, so make no mistake, I think that’s what we see next.”
Results. Charles Oliveira defended his title and Julianna Peña authored one of the biggest upsets ever at UFC 269.
Champion. Charles Oliveira dismisses critics, Justin Gaethje, Khabib Nurmagomedov after UFC 269 win: ‘Look what I’ve been doing’.
Loss. Dustin Poirier reacts to submission loss to Charles Oliveira: ‘Got choked out again, I’m just heartbroken really’.
Rematch. Julianna Pena welcomes rematch with Amanda Nunes, also targets Valentina Shevchenko, Germaine de Randamie.
Plans. Dana White: Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena 2 likely next, hints at ruined plans for Kayla Harrison showdown.
Next. Justin Gaethje on Charles Oliveira after UFC 269: ‘I can’t wait to break his face’.
Suga. Sean O’Malley calls out Daniel Cormier commentary, details rib injury that nearly forced UFC 269 withdrawal.
Injury. Michael Chiesa injured after rushing octagon to celebrate Julianna Pena win, ‘dragged out’ by police.
Dispute. Israel Adesanya calls ‘cap’ on UFC 271 booking, Dana White fires back: ‘When have we ever f*cking lied?’.
UFC 269 Post Show.
UFC 269 Post-Fight Press Conference.
The champ walk.
Watch Israel Adesanya go crazy for Kai Kara-France’s win.
Tyron Woodley on TMZ.
On to the Next One. Matches to make following UFC 269.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
The new champ.
It really is.
This sport is exhausting.— Nina Ansaroff (@NinaAnsaroff) December 12, 2021
Nate and Conor.
How Conor let Dp fuck him up hella times he sucks ♂️— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) December 12, 2021
you lanky string of piss he got lumped around and got lucky twice. That’s it. Is what it is. Embarrassing night for him alright. That closed guard game. Wtf was that. Wow! Shocking. All good happy Sat night horse yupya it’s proper twelve day tomorrow 12/12. New Paddy’s Day!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 12, 2021
Hella times ahhahahaa it’s hella times in the black forge inn tomorrow for proper twelve day bro. Full of it. Sauce Money. Power. Runner up champ yous two are at least yous can say you made championship weight before on the scales at least that’s something hahaha pic.twitter.com/Tlb1DBlB6F— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 12, 2021
Also, just Nate.
Michael Chandler and Patricio Pitbull.
Get him GAETHJE ....I’ll see you at the end of 2022 #UFC269— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) December 12, 2021
I would never ever quit...I went out on my shield after being separated from consciousness, congrats to Oliveira... #ufc269— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) December 12, 2021
The way I see it...the whole world wants to see me rematch 2 out of the 3 fights I’ve had in the @UFC ... that’s how you come in and make a statement. I’d never QUIT. Congrats to Oliveira ...punch your ticket with Gaethje this summer and I’ll see you at the end of 2022 #UFC269— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) December 12, 2021
I make ill-advised decisions at times. But I’m there to put y’all on the edge of your seat so you miss me when I’m gone. I promise you will. Most of these guys are here to “play mma.” #UFC269— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) December 12, 2021
Gaethje breaks Charlie Olives... CHANGE MY MIND. #ufc269— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) December 12, 2021
Ok, imagine, it’s June 2022. I lost to the former champion after beating him 10-8 in round one, ROTY candidate. And the new champion the whole world wants to see me run back my FOTY with. Less than 1.5 years after making my #ufc debut. Ooooh...it’s good to be me. #ufc269— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) December 12, 2021
Step back though...how cool is it that Charles is here?! Defended and finished against the guy most, including myself, gave him less than a 10% chance of beating. Rags to riches. I love this sport. #longlivetheFavelas #ufc269— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) December 12, 2021
You turned your back to Charles and run away after being clipped. You quit against Gaethje. Also let's not forget you asked Will Brooks for a time out. Shut your damn mouth, you've been pathetic. https://t.co/6A4h5Ddj4a— Patricio Pitbull (@PatricioPitbull) December 12, 2021
Congrats my blonde brother , Blonde Oliveira you did the culture proud ! #UFC269 ♂️— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 12, 2021
♂️— Charles Oliveira (@CharlesDoBronxs) December 13, 2021
Let’s do it dom— C H T O V E R A (@chitoveraUFC) December 12, 2021
Gods plan thank you everyone for the love and support pic.twitter.com/Y28LxIVTgZ— Dan “50k” Ige (@Dynamitedan808) December 12, 2021
I’m really sorry.— Kayla Harrison (@KaylaH) December 12, 2021
I have the receipts.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
What is the biggest upset in UFC history?
This poll is closed
Peña over Nunes
Serra over St-Pierre
Bisping over Rockhold