Luis “Violent Bob Ross” Pena is back in action this weekend at UFC Tampa and he’s ready to create another masterpiece of mixed martial arts.
After securing back-to-back wins against the tough Steven Peterson and veteran Matt Wiman, Pena believes a showdown with Matt Frevola is the perfect opportunity to make a major impression.
“Obviously a win is real nice, but I want to go in there and make a statement,” Pena said. “I want to show that I’m head and shoulders better than him.”
That confidence is a trait that we’ve seen from Pena since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated. After bursting onto the scene on TUF, he’s made the walk to the Octagon four times, with Saturday marking his fifth fight in fifteen months.
The reason he’s so active is simple. Pena just loves the way fighting makes him feel.
“There’s no better feeling than when you step in that Octagon or right before you walk out and I can see all the fans as I’m getting ready to go in,” Pena said. “Slowly but surely they start to realize I’m right there and I’m about to walk out. For some reason, every time the crowd just erupts when they see me. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, ‘Violent Bob Ross’ is about to fight!’ And I can start hearing the chants and as I’m walking out I can just hear ’Violent…Bob…Ross!’ I live for that, man. I live for that feeling, that moment.”
That passion and feeling will help fuel Pena on Saturday, as living in the moment and enjoying what he does has been a major part of his recent success. He believes that his mental makeup has become one his biggest weapons.
“Without a doubt you’re going to see the best Luis you’ve ever seen just because of my mindset,” Pena said. “I’ve always had a really strong mental game, but this camp helped me bring it to the next level.”
As Pena continues his rise in the UFC, the competition will only get tougher, with the latest challenge coming in the form of the 7-1-1 Frevola.
Pena, who trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, isn’t sweating the step-up in competition in the talent rich lightweight division. He’s welcoming it with a fat grin.
“You could say this is my hardest matchup to date but, then again, it’s not that I’m looking over him or underestimating him,” Pena said. “I’m just very confident in my own abilities.”
One of the biggest keys to Pena’s knockout victory of Wiman at UFC Greenville was letting the violence flow. He wants to live up to his nickname and he understands that brutality will lead to more victories in the Octagon. So part of Pena’s learning process has been understanding how to let that violence loose and how to use it to put him in the best position possible.
And he’s ready to paint a new canvas on Saturday night.
“I want to go in there and make sure that dude [Frevola] knows that he fought Luis Pena and he don’t ever wanna to do it again,” Pena said. “That’s the plan.”
Tune into UFC Tampa live on ESPN+ at 8pm/5pm ETPT to watch Pena go to war with Frevola in an excited lightweight battle. Sign-up for ESPN+ right here.