For the first time since late in 2013, Julianna Pena stepped foot inside the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 63.
After suffering extensive damage to her knee in training, the Brazilian fired off a warning shot to the rest of the bantamweight division by finishing Milana Dudieva in the first round.
“It’s been a long, grueling road,” she said. “I feel I would already be champion (if I didn’t have to rehab). It’s been a long process, but I am happy to be back and ready to get to work.”
Pena, who won The Ultimate Fighter with a first round finish of Jessica Rakoczy, earned her sixth career finish to improve to 6-2 overall.
“I’ll fight whoever (the UFC) wants me to,” she said. “I’m a finisher; I want the belt.”
For Dudieva, the loss dropped her to 11-4.