While her 9-5 record may not stick out on paper, Raquel ‘Rocky’ Pennington may be the hottest fighter inside of the UFC women’s bantamweight division present day following the UFC’s record breaking event that just took place in New York City.
Pennington’s upset victory over former UFC and Strikeforce’s women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate kicked off the PPV portion of UFC 205 with a bang. Even more shocking than Pennington’s victory would be the impromptu retirement speech from her former coach that would follow.
As a member of Team Tate on TUF 18, Pennington defeated current Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger and Four Horsewoman member Jessamyn Duke (in an instant classic) before dropping the semi-final bout to Jessica Rakoczy (with a damaged hand). She’d go on to defeat Roxanne Modafferi via UD in her official UFC debut before dropping a split decision to Jessica Andrade just under a handful of months later in Dallas, Texas.
Don’t look now but Pennington currently holds a 4-fight win streak with her most recent victory coming over a former UFC champion (that she officially retired) in Tate. This streak started following a hard-fought split decision loss to former champ Holly Holm when Pennington finished the aforementioned Andrade via RNC (with just 2-seconds remaining the 2nd round) to earn her a Performance of the Night bonus and avenge that hard-fought split decision loss from 2014.
You could argue that Pennington’s 9-5 record just doesn’t jump of the proverbial page. Good for you. When you throw her amateur and TUF ‘exhibition’ record into the mix she’s all of a sudden 18-7. Coincidentally, Tate retired with a record of 18-7 just last night.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when it comes to WMMA, you may as well count those amateur wins and losses as professional ones. Unfortunately, many of these competitors simply weren’t given the proper stage to celebrate their skills until recently when Tate and Ronda Rousey broke the proverbial glass ceiling.
So, where does this 28-year-old lifetime athlete out of Colorado Springs go from here? Pennington was ranked at #8 before her victory over the #1 ranked women’s bantamweight in Miesha Tate on Saturday night. Call it an upset, call it what you will, we’re not going to wait for the panelists to update their rankings. We’ll just assume that they’ll do the right thing and put Rocky in the #4 spot right under Rousey, Shevchenko and Holm.
Speaking of Shevchenko, ‘The Bullet’ out of Lima, Peru is on a career high following her UD victory over Holly Holm this past summer in Chicago at UFC on FOX 20. Make no mistake about it, Shevchenko was not supposed to win this fight. Make no mistake about, Pennington was not supposed to beat Tate. And that’s the beauty of the sport of MMA. It’s real. Stars are born overnight. F**k what you heard. Shevchenko versus Pennington is the fight to make next. We’d love to hear your thought below in our comments section if you agree or disagree. Sound off!
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