The UFC has been criticized for their inability, or reluctancy, to build stars, despite having a farm system in place for 20-plus seasons in “The Ultimate Fighter.” Superstars like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor essentially fell into their laps.
Case in point, TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena (pictured). It was announced Wednesday that she’ll face Jessica Eye at UFC 192.
Eye is currently the UFC’s 6th ranked bantamweight and is coming off last month’s unanimous decision defeat to Miesha Tate, where the victor advanced to a title tilt against champion Rousey. That means Eye was THIS close to fighting THE RONDA ROUSEY, arguably the most dominant fighter in MMA history. Now she gets to feed off Pena.
In her first outing since winning TUF in November 2013, Pena TKO’d unranked Milana Dudieva after sitting out 17 months with a torn knee. Now she gets to test her skills against one of the division’s best.
Too much, too soon for the 25-year-old Pena? Perhaps another can that she could have posted another highlight reel W against would have been better at this stage of her young career?
Sometimes, throwing someone into the fire is the best way to learn. Other times, it’s the best way to burn them.
UFC 192 takes place October 3 inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Here is the show’s updated lineup:
Chris Cariaso vs. Sergio Pettis
Alan Jouban vs. Albert Tumenov
Daniel Hooker vs. Yair Rodriguez
Julianna Pena vs. Jessica Eye
Ruslan Magomedov vs. Shawn Jordan
Rashad Evans vs. Ryan Bader
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Daniel Cormier (UFC light heavyweight champion)