Raquel Pennington, Colorado's first female UFC champion, thanks fans at Aurora sports card shop

The first UFC women's champion from Colorado spent several hours signing sports gear for fans during a meet-and-greet at Mike's Stadium Sports Cards.
UFC Women's bantamweight champion Raquel Pennington and her wife Tecia Torres stopped by an Aurora card shop to sign gear for fans.
Posted at 12:52 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 14:52:18-04

AURORA, Colo — Just two months after capturing the UFC women's bantamweight championship, Raquel "Rocky" Pennington stopped by Mike's Stadium Sportscards in Aurora for a meet-and-greet with fans.

The Aurora business has hosted several meet-and-greets with basketball, hockey and football players. Pennington and her wife, Tecia "Tiny Tornado" Torres, are the first UFC fighters to sign gear at the shop.

"We've never had a fighter here and to start off with a champion is just that much cooler," said Mike Fruitman, the owner of Mike's Stadium Sportscards.

Pennington won the title in January of this year in her second title shot. She previously lost to Amanda Nunes in 2018.

"There's the highest highs and lowest lows in this sport," said Pennington. "To have the opportunity to fight for a world title a second time, most people only get the chance to dream about that.”

In 2013, Pennington was one of the first round of women to sign with the UFC, which previously only allowed men to compete. Today, most of the fighters who starred alongside Pennington on the Ultimate Fighter are either retired or no longer with the UFC.

At 35-years-old, Pennington can be considered an early trailblazer of the sport, making her most recent championship even more impressive. Additionally, she boasts the milestone of being the first female UFC champion from Colorado.

Raquel Pennington, Colorado's first female UFC champion, thanks fans at Aurora sports card shop

"I'm a Colorado native, so I'm proud of anyone who's a Colorado native and has that success," said Annie Atencio, a UFC fan who brought a picture for Pennington to sign.

"It's nice to see somebody from the hometown win it," said Kevin Oliphant, a father who brought his daughter Carson to the event, along with a pair of gloves to be signed. "It's a huge step for women and women's sports to see the UFC grow so much."

Although Pennington doesn't plan to retire yet, as she waits for a bout with former champion Julianna Peña, she says she feels accomplished in life, after the birth of her daughter.

"At the end of the day, we've still won in life," said Pennington. "Whether we win or lose, whatever it is, we've done what we needed to as people following our passion.”

Pennington and Torres welcomed baby Alayah into the world last year. Torres took a two-year hiatus from the sport, but is set to return to the Octagon. She and Pennington are trading off parenting duties, as they each enter fight camps.

"Tecia, held down the fort and played mommy the entire time and now the roles are flipped, I'm playing mama, and she's in camp," said Pennington.

While Pennington waits for a fight against Peña, Torres is set to face Tabatha Ricci at UFC Fight Night 241 in May.