Raquel Pennington is currently on a four fight winning streak and her last outing at UFC 205 was her biggest win yet, a unanimous decision over former UFC bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate. Tate went on to retire after the loss to “Rocky,” while Pennington moved up to fifth in her division there isn’t much talk about her next move.
Pennington stated via Twitter that she is currently getting back to training following surgery. While Pennington might not be the most exciting fighter in the division, she shouldn’t be ranked behind Ronda Rousey, who is unlikely to return to MMA anytime soon. Ranked third is Juliana Pena who just informed UFC Tonight that there is no timetable for a return following her loss to #1 contender, Valentina Shevchenko in January.
Holly Holm is now ranked second after defeating Bethe Correia and probably benefits the most from Tate’s retirement. Despite previously enduring three consecutive losses, Holm is still in the title mix. The problem the division is currently experiencing a bit of a stale period with the retirement of Both Rousey and Tate, Pena suffering her first MMA loss, Holm falling back down to Earth and Shevchenko not being an exciting fighter.
The winner between Shevchenko and Nunes next month at UFC 213 will likely face Holm, Pennington, or Sara McMann. Cat Zingano is currently MIA and most recently showed interest in crossing paths against Cyborg Justino until an injury got in the way. Pennington arguably deserves the next shot given her last win, but it might be best to have her rematch Holm in the near future. Pennington lost a close decision to Holm back in 2015, but a five round fight between the two could result in a different outcome.
Pennington isn’t doing herself any favors with the lack of noise she’s making from arguably retiring Miesha Tate and only losing two close fights in the UFC against Jessica Andrade, a title challenger, and Holm, a former champion. Whomever gets the next shot is up in the air, but the UFC should attempt to get behind Pennington given her current run and her shot at wearing UFC gold one day.