First female Ultimate Fighter winner returns home to Spokane



Posted on December 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 10:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A local fighter made history in the fighting world. Spokane native Julianna Pena became the first female winner of the Ultimate Fighter.

Pena said the win has not sunk in. Being on the Ultimate Fighter had been a dream of hers for years. After friends of hers made the show a couple of years ago she knew she could do it too.

Pena came out on top in the first round. The Venezuelan vixen beat her opponent convincingly and won with a technical knockout.

PHOTOS: Local MMA fighter becomes first woman to win The Ultimate Fighter

2013 was the first year in the UFC’s 20-year history that a woman competed and won.

"I realized I was a part of history and it was very special. It still hasn't sunk in,” said Pena.

The 24-year-old said it was an experience she will never forget.

"You get to train with some of the best people in the world for free and it was a great experience,” said Pena.

Her training started in Spokane five years ago. Pena is a Spokane native and the sister of former KREM 2 weather anchor Grace Pena.

Pena said winning her first fight on the show has changed everything.

“That's when I realized I'm going to take this thing and no one is going to stop me and no one is going to get in my way,” said Pena.

Pena beat five opponents in a row. She went into the last fight after two losses.

READ: Local MMA fighter makes waves on The Ultimate Fighter

“I was so ready for it and was very determined,” said Pena.

Her win earned her a $100,000 contract with the UFC. She said she is now living her dreams and she is encouraging others to live theirs.

“Believe it more than anything-- it can happen. And if you go out and work hard no one will deny you... you got to believe it and then you can achieve it,” said Pena.

Pena said she is enjoying her time back in Spokane until she gets the call for her next fight. She has an MMA gym in Spokane and plans to open a bigger one in the future.