‘Violent Bob Ross’ says with life changed, he has something to prove at UFC Denver

DENVER – Luis Pena realizes there’s no changing the past, but at UFC Fight Night 139, he plans on affecting how it’s remembered.

The man perhaps better known at this point as “Violent Bob Ross” believes it was his destiny to win “The Ultimate Fighter 27.” A fractured metatarsal ruined his chances of fulfilling that destiny, but Saturday’s event at Pepsi Center in Denver, he gets to revisit that plan.

Mike Trizano (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) ended up taking home the “TUF 27” crown, but now Pena (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) gets to try and exact a little revenge on the FS1-broadcast main card. Sure, the “TUF” title won’t change hands, but perhaps an asterisk could be placed beside Trizano’s name in the history books.

“It really has nothing to do with being the ‘TUF’ champion,” Pena told MMAjunkie. “I just felt as though this was the correct fight to make. This is the one that makes the most sense.

“There were a lot of people after the fight that said that I wold have won if I never I got injured. In my opinion, there is no, ‘Would have?’ I would have won if I didn’t get injured, and I want the chance to prove that, and I’m sure Mike wants the chance to prove those people wrong, so it just make the most sense.”

Of course, Pena’s “TUF” departure didn’t end in complete failure. Quite the opposite, in fact. After pleading his case, Pena was granted a spot on the season’s live finale, and he delivered in emphatic fashion, taking scoring a first-round submission win over Richie Smullen and taking home a $50,000 bonus in the process.

Pena said it was the type of payday that truly changed the trajectory of his entire career.

“That meant everything for me,” Pena said. “It really changed my life, you know what I’m saying? I was able to get the ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus, and with that $50,000, I legitimately changed my life. I was able to take that and make the move from St. Louis to California, move to AKA permanently, and it’s been history ever since.”

Training under Daniel Cormier on “TUF 27,” Pena made the acquaintance of the American Kickboxing Academy coaches, and the relationship proved immediately fruitful. Now that he’s with them full-time, Pena said the results will be immediately evident on Saturday night.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the benefits and payoffs of training at AKA,” Pena said. “I legitimately was one of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s main sparring partners for his last fight against Conor McGregor. You can’t pay for an experience like that.”

You also can’t often pay for a chance to revisit a moment in your life were something didn’t turn out quite the way you planned. Pena will have the pleasure of being paid for his second go.

Sure, it won’t change the history books, but it also might say a whole lot about how it should have gone – and Pena believes he’s going to put an exclamation point on his claim.

“From bell to bell, I’m looking to finish you,” Pena said. “I believe that (Trizano) hasn’t had to deal with someone like that before, and this is going to test to see what he’s going to do.”

To hear more from Pena, check out the video above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 139, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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