Raquel “Rocky” Pennington is not a house hold name yet to many UFC fans, but give her some time.
After being scheduled to fight Leslie Smith and Liz Carmouche at UFC 191, Pennington finally got locked in the Octagon with Jessica Andrade, who beat Pennington via split decision at UFC 171.
As her nickname suggests, Pennington has a fighting spirit and never-say-die mentality that makes her more popular with fans each fight out. Despite struggling through most of the fight, Pennington was able to fight through some major adversity to submit Andrade with just two seconds to go in the second round. The victory afforded her a much-needed win and secured her first career “Performance of the Night” bonus.
Just like her fight, Pennington had to go through a lot of adversity outside of the cage leading up to what can easily go down as the biggest win in her young UFC career.
“It was tough to get ready for this fight as I had a close friend whose was only 34 pass away in his sleep leading up to the fight,” Pennington said. “It was very important to me to win tonight and it was also my opportunity to get revenge from my last fight with Jessica. I’m done letting my fights go to the judges. I feel it’s too often that I feel like I won or I’m close to winning and the judges hand it to the other person. To get revenge on a girl who is a part of my revenge tour is very satisfying.”
With the victory Pennington is poised to break into the top 10 of the women’s bantamweight rankings and was very animated that she wants a fight with Cat Zingano, Smith or even a rematch with newly picked UFC bantamweight title contender Holly Holm.
“I don’t think it’s right that Holly has not faced a lot of talent on the UFC level and walks right into a title, but because of politics everyone is getting what they want,” Pennington said with a wry smile on her face. “Of course it’s a fight, anything can happen but Ronda is a very talented fighter and I think she’s going to bring it to Holly.”