For an Ultimate Fighter alum who entered the UFC with a pedestrian 3-3 record, Raquel Pennington is certainly something to keep an eye on in the women’s 135lb division. She’s 2-1 in her last three, and has two buzzer beater stoppages in those victories. Her lone blemish in that time is a split decision loss to top 10 talent Holly Holm, who fights Ronda Rousey in November. Pennington has more talent than her record indicates.
She also has a plan, and it involves revenge. After submitting Jessica Andrade in their rematch last night at UFC 191, Pennington said in her post fight interview that she, “…wanted a revenge tour.” Why the hell not? In a division where the most marketable fight for the champion is an opponent she’s vanquished twice before, give Pennington the fights she wants. If she wins them, she will move up the ladder; if not, those are still fun fights to make.
Can we honestly say that the tepid “Rocky” we saw against Roxanne Modafferi is the same we saw pushing the pace against the UFC’s 13th ranked bantamweight last night? I think not. The pressure style of her game makes for entertaining fights, and a rematch with Smith, Zingano, or Holm would make for interesting viewing. Plus, if the UFC is willing to indulge Bethe Correia’s hunting of the “Four Horsewomen,” why not give an arguably better fighter the opportunity to craft her own story?
For Pennington, her path is clear. Avenge losses and move up the ladder toward the pinnacle of division. It’s up to the UFC to set up this series of fights, which they more than likely will. Sean Shelby usually gives fights to those who ask for them, so odds are we may see Pennington-Smith II or Pennington-Zingano II sometime soon.
If we don’t, and Pennington is fed new foes for the rest of her UFC tenure, then at least we’ll know she’s going to be in some entertaining scraps. The UFC always has a place for fighters that push forward, so irregardless of whether revenge is sated or not, expect to see Pennington throwing down on an UFC fight card in the future.