Both champion and challenger walked on-stage alongside their children, and Peña’s daughter even got in on the staredown action. But it was still all business once they came nose-to-nose, with only UFC president Dana White separating the two combatants.
Following the standoff between the fighters, a fired-up Nunes, who still holds the UFC featherweight title, promised to rectify the mistakes of the past that cost her the 135-pound belt in her previous meeting with Peña.
“Life is like that, sometimes not everything goes your way,” Nunes said. “Now I’m back here to get my title back Saturday.
“You guys, make sure you watch that. I’m going to become a double champ again.”
There was a look of determination on Nunes’ face from the moment she hit the stage until she finally broke apart with Peña, who weighed in second as the incumbent champion.
The last time around, Peña pulled off what many have called the biggest upset in the promotion’s history. But the one-time Ultimate Fighter champion never saw it that way.
Peña always believed she was destined to dethrone Nunes, and now she plans on earning a second win over the Brazilian, which would effectively vanquish her as a challenger for the foreseeable future.
While she enters the rematch as a sizable underdog yet again, Peña expects the same results once she goes to battle with Nunes on Saturday night.
“That is such an opportunity for me,” Peña said of the rematch. “Pressure is a privilege. I’m going to give everything that I have to retain this belt tomorrow night.”
The co-main event features an interim flyweight title fight as Brandon Moreno clashes with Kai Kara-France, with the winner then expected to face reigning 125-pound champion Deiveson Figueiredo once he’s healthy enough to compete again.
The fight also serves as a rematch after Moreno beat Kara-France by decision back in 2019, but since that time the contender from New Zealand has amassed a 4-1 record, including three victories in a row to put himself in position to compete for UFC gold.
“I’m a long way from home out here in Dallas, Texas,” Kara-France said. “I know I’m fighting my boy but by the end of the night, you’ll all be on my hype train. Don’t blink, baby.”
As for Moreno, he seeks to reclaim gold for the second time after losing his belt to Figueiredo in a very close decision, but now he’ll have to beat Kara-France if he wants to have the title back around his waist again.
“The past doesn’t matter right now,” Moreno shouted. “I’m so freaking exciting. I’m enjoying the moment. I want to show you how big I am guys. I want to show you why I deserve to be the next champion of the world again.”