TUF 18 champion Julianna Pena recently announced that she and her longtime boyfriend were expecting their first child.
Pena also suffered a decision loss to Valentina Shevchenko and if Shevchenko had defeated UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 215, then the unborn child would’ve been named after her.
“It’s funny enough, I didn’t watch the fight — I still haven’t — but I said if Valentina wins this fight, “I’ll name my baby Valentina.” Pena said on The MMA Hour. "At the end of the night, I checked. I just love that name. I don’t know why, I just love the name Valentina. I think it’s such a beautiful name. And she lost the fight, so I was like, ‘Nope, her name is not going to be Valentina.’”
While the baby will not be named Valentina, the future parents have elected to name their child Isabella.The expecting mother also stated that her love of the name Valentina didn’t actually begin with her one time opponent.
“Before I even knew Valentina entered the division, like before I’d even thought about Valentina, I remember (MMA manager) Danny Rubenstein one time told me that he had known this girl that makes these beautiful Mexican dresses, and that she could like make a custom dress, and I asked him, ‘Well, what’s her name?’ And he said, ‘Valentina.’ And I was like, wow, that’s such a beautiful name,” Pena said. “So whenever anyone would be like, ‘Well, if you’re going to have a kid, what would name it?,’ I would always say Valentina. So then when they were like, ‘You’re fighting Valentina,’ I’m kinda superstitious, I was like, ‘I don’t think this is a good thing. Like, this is the name that has been coming to me, reoccurring in dreams all the time,’ and stuff like that. So I thought it was really weird. So, losing to her was one thing, but then also the other thing, thinking okay, well, I’m pregnant — the girl, I don’t want to stray away from that name. But then I thought, well that’s just going to be kinda weird, because then everyone’s going to be like, ‘Oh, you lost to Valentina, so you named your baby after her?’ And then, of course, that salty voice in my mouth from the loss is probably going to make me madder, at that point. So I was like, she didn’t win the belt, her name’s not going to be Valentina, I’m over it.”
A due date has yet to be revealed by the future mother, but she also isn’t expected to compete in the Octagon again until late 2018 at the earliest.