Aisling Daly wants Jessica Penne rematch: “I’d finish that fight”

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After an amazing UFC debut that saw her claim an armbar victory in the first round of her bout with Alex Chambers at the finale of The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned, Aisling Daly commented on how it felt to claim her first win on MMA’s biggest stage.

“It was pretty amazing to finally be there especially after the all the things that I had been through in the last 48 hours or whatever,” said Daly. “There was so much relief after ten years hard work, it was very emotional – I was just screaming in the middle of the Octagon with my Ireland flag, my heart was pumping.

“I was the second fight of the night so the place was pretty empty where we were, nobody had really shown up yet. My family were there, my brothers and sisters came over to watch me fight so that was amazing. They were the only ones that I could hear. Even the entrance music, I came out to ‘Zombie’, they went nuts and they were pretty much the only people going nuts!

“I could hear the big thick Irish accents on them and everything. It was just mad. It was definitely enjoyable.”

The win over Chambers put the Irish straw weight straight into ninth in the UFC’s divisional rankings and although the SBG fighter is glad to be in the top ten, she made no bones about highlighting some problems she has with the current pecking order of the division.

“It’s great to be in the top ten but I don’t know if I really understand these rankings. Look at where Penne is, I don’t think she should be up that far. She barely beat me. She barely beat Randa, she lost to Carla – why the hell is she so close to the top? She hasn’t done anything, she’s been scraping by all these years with wins and she hasn’t finished anybody.

“She beat Lisa in the first fight but Lisa had a dodgy knee so I don’t know about that. The rankings are just weird. I decided that I’m not going to pay much attention to them, I’m just going to fight whoever they put in front of me and gradually I’ll just keep moving up as I keep winning.”

Daly highlighted how she would love a rematch with Penne, who knocked her of the series in the quarterfinals, and believes she would finish the American if they squared off again:

“I’d take the fight tomorrow I’d love that rematch. I’m super-confident that I could finish that fight. If I got that matchup again I’d finish that fight – there’d be a stoppage in there somewhere. I’d say it would be a second round TKO or something like that.”

‘Ais the Bash’ discussed the production of the TUF 20 reality TV show, and insisted that the series focused way more on the drama in the house than the sport itself.

“They were definitely focusing more on the drama and stuff. I think it’s pretty clear when people like myself, Jo, Alex and Randa – she only featured in the episode that had all the drama between Felice and Carla caused – people that kept their heads down and trained didn’t really feature in the show as much.

“The Scrapettes and some other girls – pretty much all the girls that got first rounded – they were the ones who got all the air time just for being bullies and being nasty. But, it’s a reality TV show at the end of the day. I suppose it was to be expected, FOX got the drama that they wanted and UFC got its new straw weight division, so it was a win/win for them,” she said.

In an interview backstage after her debut, Daly made some comments about Croke Park that turned the rumour mill into overdrive on social media sites. However, Daly insisted she knew nothing about the date and only made the comments after she saw a post on Twitter.

“The only things I know are the things I see on Twitter,” she laughed. “Severe MMA tweeted the other day about Croke Park being booked provisionally for May but I honestly don’t think the UFC know what they’re doing yet. Croker is absolutely huge, maybe they won’t be able to do Croker they might have to do the Aviva.

“To be honest I’m just thinking about watching fights in Croker. If you were in the nosebleeds it would look like ants – how much are they gonna charge people to watch from up there? I know screens can be used, but I’d rather watch it at home than watch two ants down there.”

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The former NAAFS champion spoke about when she would like to fight again, claiming that if the rumours are true about Croke Park in May, that would ideal timing for her.

“I said I wanted Boston straight after the fight but I’ve decided that I want to have a Christmas this year after missing out on the last two with the New Year’s Eve fights. It will be great to be with my family and not stressing them. I stress them out because I can’t eat so they’ll be able to chill this year too.

“There was supposed to be London in February, but I think that’s gone now. To be honest if it was May for Dublin that would be time enough for me to come back, especially after the disruptions of this year. I’d like a month or two to get my head down and just hit the mats and get loads of rolls in.

“I don’t really feel like I’ve improved over the last few months, I feel like I’ve the same skillset that I went into the house with and that makes me uncomfortable. I need to improve, I need to have more tools because in the nine weeks I had to get ready for Alex I just had to work specific game plans and I don’t really feel like improved all round.”

Having lived with the majority of her rivals in the TUF house, Daly is confident that she can put a run together and eventually claim the title currently held by Carla Esparza.

She said: “100 per cent I have my eyes on the title. There is no reason for me to have any doubts after training with all these girls in the house. I just don’t think there is anyone in the world that is better than me. The only girls I have in my head as being possible competition are the girls that weren’t in the house. All the girls that were in the house, I know their strengths and I know their weaknesses. I’m very confident.

“They probably haven’t seen the real me yet. It will probably be the next one after leaving the house behind me. I’ll be walking out with my club gear on. It will be whatever I want to have on and not the Team Pettis gear. I know it was my UFC debut and I was delighted with it and everything , but the next one will feel like the real deal for me.”

 @PetesyCarroll

Ireland's leading MMA media outlet. Home of Severe MMA Podcast. Producers of 'Notorious,' 'The Fighting Irish' & other MMA docus