There is no knock on Chris Holdsworth, but TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena is poised to have a more successful career (in terms of title potential) than her male counterpart. In a division short on contenders and very few roster spots, Pena could find herself in position for a title within a year or two at the most if she continues to win.
Pena was able to pressure her way through the TUF house and make a name for herself in the process. She dominated most of competition with relentless pace and was able to stifle most of them. In the TUF finale, she made Jessica Rakoczy look like an amateur on her way to earning a UFC contract.
Prior to her TUF finale win, Pena submitted odds-on favorite Shayna Baszler and avenged a loss to Sarah Moras by submitting her as well. She seems like she is game to fight anybody in the women’s division. At the young age of 24, Pena also has plenty of time to develop her game. Not counting her victories in the TUF house, she has finished most of her opponents by submission (three). She has won two fights by TKO (Rakoczy and Raylene Harvey).
Though Pena is still a raw talent in some sorts, she could easily find herself matched up against a top-10 fighter, or someone close to breaking into the top-10 in her second outing in the Octagon.
Though fighters like Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis and of course Miesha Tate are out of the questions, Liz Carmouche or Germaine De Randamie make for a good matchup for Pena. Carmouche has a similar style, and Randamie would give her a run for her money on the feet. If Pena can continue having success in her next few outings, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that she could be competing for the title sooner rather than later.