Reigning and defending UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Peña and former champion Amanda Nunes might be on the verge of adding a big spotlight to their eventual rematch in 2022. Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting reported on Wednesday evening that Peña and Nunes are the reported front-runners to coach the next upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, although nothing has been confirmed or announced.
Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes are the front-runners to coach the next season of TUF, per sources.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 27, 2022
Julianna Peña shocked everyone besides herself and her team around her when she defeated Nunes at UFC 269 to dethrone the champion and win UFC gold for the first time in her career. Immediately following the win, there were talks of a rematch between the two and the new champion was more than willing, while the former champion underwent some changes.
It was reported last week that Amanda Nunes would be leaving her long-time gym home of American Top Team as she looks to start her own gym and team, although no word if she would be carrying over any coaches from her previous gym. Speaking to the media at UFC 270 media day, Peña called the situation a “zoo” and would add that she was not looking to have her first title defense against Nunes in Brazil, where the former champion is from.
After a three-year hiatus, The Ultimate Fighter returned in 2021 and pitted UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski against top-contender Brian Ortega as they coached bantamweight and middleweight fighters looking to win the tournament. Volkanovski would go on to defend his title against Ortega at UFC 266 in September. Although Ortega did not win the title away from Volkanovski, he did have both winners of the tournament show come from his team, as Ricky Turcios won the bantamweight bracket and Bryan Battle won the middleweight bracket.
The last time The Ultimate Fighter was coached by two female fighters was back in 2016 when strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha coached against former champion Joanna Jedrzeczyk, with Gadelha winning the TV season, but Jedrzeczyk retaining her title.
While it is not official that Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes will be the coaches of the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, it would give two of the more polarizing female fighters a spotlight they both very much deserve.
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