Among the UFC’s brightest young stars is hurt, and according to the company president she’s likely to be out of commission for a couple of years. It was yesterday revealed by UFC Tonight which TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena suffered a devastating injury to her right knee during training that resulted in tears to her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. reported that the injury occurred during a grappling session on Monday at Sikjitsu fitness center in Spokane, Washington. In accordance with UFC president Dana White, the injury is so severe that the 24-year-old Pena is expected to miss two decades of action. She is set to have surgery on the knee following week once the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everyone in the MMA world ought to want Pena a speedy recovery as she embarks on what is going to be a dark period in her life as she will not be able to compete at the game she enjoys just at the time she was beginning to get really good at it. According to her official biography on,“ Pena said,“After I discovered MMA I realized it was the socket I needed and was looking for.“ About fighting in the Octagon, Pena said:“It means the world for me to be fighting in the UFC. This is as large as it gets, it will not get any higher, and I have made it. It’s a fantastic achievement for myself.“ However, for the next time, she will not have MMA within her entire life. Nicknamed“The Venezuelan Vixen,“ Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and has been paired up against veteran Shayna Baszler from the preliminary round after beating Gina Mazany to go into the home. Despite being a large underdog to Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being early to conquer Baszer through second-round submission. She then submitted Sara Moras from the semifinals to earn a birth in the finale, and she won the series last November with a dominating first-round TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy. Currently ranked in the top 10 of the women’s bantamweight division, Pena was set to face Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 this March prior to being forced to pull out this knee injury. Andrade will now face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani managed to talk to Pena’s coach at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the injury Pena suffered was the“most grisly“ he’d ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s injury was the consequence of an over-aggressive training session, which seems strange given the severity of this accident. Based on White’s tweet that“what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,“ there is obviously more to the narrative. There is already speculation that this was not only an accident, but that someone in Pena’s camp held on to a submission overly long, possibly a heel hook which is highly frowned upon to do while training with teammates. That’s only speculation for now, however, although I don’t by for a moment that this injury was only an accident based on what White’s tweet. It was much more inclined carelessness was the cause. This is extremely disappointing news as I believe Pena was a future title contender from the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is excellent and she’s improving her entire game so quickly that she would be a serious competitor for the UFC bantamweight name within the next two decades. Keep in mind her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in the show supposed she would have been pushed up the ladder faster than many others. However, this injury will obviously delay that opportunity to fight for the belt, and it’s possible that the injury renders that dream impossible. For somebody who’s only 24, it is not fair that Pena has had to deal with all these injuries and bad fortune as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was filmed, Pena was involved in a nasty car accident that left her with a broken nose. She had also suffered a broken arm one of her fights, as well as the previous two ACL tears before in her career. But that’s life, and life isn’t fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and also living in the home with her loved ones. With her career just about to remove, Pena had been looking forward to moving out and embarking on a promising career in the game. Now, she will be outside sitting on the sidelines for around another 24 month after suffering among the worst knee injuries ever to a UFC fighter, and she’ll have trouble making a living while doing this. I hope that the UFC helps out Pena financially during her off time since, after all, she is an investment for the company. The UFC does have an insurance plan which should pay part of Pena’s operation, but it is capped at $50,000 yearly and may not cover most of Pena’s medical-related costs. So hopefully the UFC can do exactly the right thing and help her out in her time of need. Hopefully we get the full story about what happened to Pena soon, but for now let’s all wish Pena great luck on her operation next week and let’s hope she can conquer the projected two year layoff and get back into the crate earlier than later because she’s a tremendous fighter and has a bright future in the game.

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