Ronda Rousey recently announced that she is now the highest paid fighter in the UFC and Julianna Peña isn’t just happy to hear that news — she’s saying it’s about damn time.
Peña fights this weekend at UFC 192 against Jessica Eye in the opening fight on the pay-per-view card. While Peña might hope to tackle Rousey at some point in the future, for now she’s rooting on the most popular fighter in the sport for bringing women’s mixed martial arts to the forefront and getting paid to do it.
It’s just one more sign that the women in the UFC are carrying just as much weight as the men, and over time Peña sees them completely taking over.
"I totally feel that way and rightfully so," Peña told FOX Sports. "Anything a man can do, a woman can do better. That’s the way that it should be. Because there isn’t as many females as there are male fighters. It’s a rare commodity. It’s still a rare thing because not as many females are doing it as much as males. It’s not very common for girls to be getting in there and doing fist fights.
"It is starting to get more popular for women now, and especially because women are starting to see other women can do it and they’re feel empowered by that."
Peña isn’t just addressing the UFC when she says that there’s inequality when comparing the pay structure between men and women, but changes are happening, especially after seeing a fighter like Rousey rise to the top of the salary list after just two-plus years inside the promotion.
"In my opinion, women rule the world. We are the neck and we make the head turn," Peña said. "I feel like that’s the way that it should be and I feel like, if anything, we deserve to get paid 10 times more than the men. Sorry to say, but that’s just me being a female and me also wanting more money.
"You look at the business aspect of things and the business world and women that do 10 times the work get paid less than a man. That’s not right."
As hard as it was to get women into the UFC in the first place after president Dana White was vehemently against the idea for years, now fighters like Rousey are becoming the biggest crossover superstars in the history of the sport.
Peña knows it won’t stop with Rousey and is certainly never going to apologize for believing in her gender and being a champion for women’s rights everywhere.
"Women do a better job," Peña said bluntly. "We draw more, we’re more exciting, we have 10 times more heart, we don’t quit. It’s a more personal thing for a female and it shows in the fights, and I think we should be getting paid for that. I feel like I should be getting paid more for that."