The last year few years have been eventful for the former UFC strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas (8-4). After suffering some early setbacks in her career, she shocked the world by knocking out Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 to win the title. She cemented her status after defeating Jedrzejczyk a second time at UFC 223. However, Namajunas fell on tough times following that fight.
The week of UFC 223, Conor McGregor’s infamous bus attack occurred. Namajunas was on the bus, and she was visibly shaken by the event. Following her win that weekend, she stepped away from the sport for a year. She was struggling with a few things, and she was struggling to find the passion for the sport. She returned at UFC 237 against Jessica Andrade (20-7). After dominating early, Namajunas was knocked out by a vicious slam.
It was unclear if Namajunas would fight again after that loss. Conventional wisdom would say that of course a former champion entering her prime would fight again, but Namajunas was struggling to love the sport that she was so great at. However, recently she found the spark again, and she told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani all about it.
Coming back for her UFC title
“This is what I love to do…I’m a martial artist.” Namajunas told Helwani. While she said she doesn’t miss what she went through as champion, she stated that she did miss having the title. Realistically a win at UFC 251 puts her in line to fight champion Weili Zhang (21-1). When asked about the current champ, Namajunas only had the highest of praise.
“I’d love to fight her one day. She’s a true martial artist…Like, she’s the sh*t,” Namajunas told Helwani. I really believe that Namajunas is a better fighter than Jessica Andrade. No disrespect to Andrade, but she was getting absolutely dominated before that slam knockout. If that slam doesn’t occur, I don’t think Andrade would have lasted the entire fight.
When she returns, I’m expecting big things from Namajunas at UFC 251. I think when she’s mentally on, it’s hard to bet against her. I think she’s got all the advantages against Andrade outside of pure strength. A motivated Namajunas is a dangerous woman, I think she’s going to show her greatness on Fight Island this July. If she takes care of business, I can’t wait for the potential fight between her and the champion, Zhang.