Juliana Pena hasn’t been seen in the Octagon since being submitted by Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC On Fox 23.
The loss, which was the first for Pena in the UFC, left the fighter heartbroken afterwards.
“When you (lose), and you give it your all, it feels like a death,” Pena said at a UFC Fight Night: Singapore Q&A. “I was very, very heartbroken. I felt like my world came crashing down. I think the most important thing is, you can’t get married to your wins and you can’t get married to your losses. One day you feel like you’re on top of the world then the next day the world is on top of you. You have to take your wins and losses in stride and just keep moving forward.”
Pena has also been making waves about competing on the next season of the UFC Ultimate Fighter, which will crown the promotion’s first female flyweight champion.
If the loss gave Pena one huge opportunity to do something, it was to get her life and her health in order.
“I’ve actually been in physical therapy to get back to training and that’s where my focus has been since January, is just trying to get back into the training room and doing things that I normally do,” Pena said. “I had moved to Chicago in September and going to a city I’ve never been to before and changing my entire camp with my coaches and everything and getting thrown into that mix before the biggest fight of my entire life, was I think a big change. I’ve taken this time from January to now to get to know the city, get to know my routes, get to know everything so that when I prepare for my fight next time, I’ll have everything a lot better tuned. I think that’s part of the learning process in mixed martial arts. If you lose, you go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong and try again.”
Despite suffering her first loss in the UFC, the TUF 18 champion is still ranked #2 in the women’s bantamweight division.