Rose Namajunas found a new mountain to climb.
It’s been nearly six years since Namajunas won her first UFC title at 115 pounds, a feat she’ll do again in 2021. Her win comes up against legendary and strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Current Zhang Weili and a decade into her career, the Namajunas have put Hall of Fame resumes together.
So what’s left for “Gangster Rose”?
On September 2, she made her flyweight debut against top contender Manon Fiorot, currently ranked No. 5 at 125 pounds in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, a bout that could once again propel her into the lead. or may move closer to her one more step toward retirement age
“Of course, after Carla’s battle. [at UFC 274]I think that is – win or lose – I am thinking of continuing to do that,” Namajunas said. MMA hours“One, my body has changed. i’m starting to mature early in my career I had never lost that much weight until a few years ago. I think maybe when I fought Michelle Waterson that was when I really started to gain size. Each fight was more and more even though I cut my hair better. But I feel this is not healthy at all. as far as I have a better state of mind I think physically now I feel that I am much stronger. I also made a small effort to make the size a little bigger. The intention was to make it a little bigger, to carry, store and eat more.
“Weili is the champion now, so what, am I fighting her for the third time? I don’t know. It’s not all interesting. I’ve fought Andrade and this and that. And now she has retreated… Weili is a champion, so I can beat her again, but I don’t know. To me it’s more than that. I want something that scares me. I want to face my fears It was always part of the plan and yes I could keep doing the same things, but as soon as this game was redundant. I get bored quickly. And that’s not good for anyone. So I had to keep it fresh and interesting.”
Namajunas estimates that she wakes up to about 135 pounds, and her cage size is no different on fight night. She added that people are often surprised to see her physical strength in competitions.
Above all, Namajunas is changing departments to get out of her comfort zone. which she considers essential to her development. She pointed to her second fight with Jessica Andrade at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi as one of her most memorable moments. A brutal three-round fight that earned Namajunas a split victory.
“I received a lot of fight offers during the break. And that’s my first time modeling. ‘Sounds interesting,’” Namajunas said when asked why she chose to fight Fiorot. “I miss Paris and as much as I don’t like traveling. I don’t like anything else. Many others that I like equally, of course, I love traveling. So much to learn So much to see And that’s like, ‘Lazy Rose doesn’t want to travel, or Comfort Rose doesn’t want to travel,’ but these things have helped me grow and broaden my horizons.
“I had one of the best experiences in Abu Dhabi. As much as I am afraid to do so. No one knows what happened during COVID and all that. It was like the most rewarding experience ever. Even if I break my nose But it was also one of the best things that ever happened. Although I sometimes dislike these things. I know this is the drug for me. This is good for me.”
Fiorot is unbeaten in 10 straight fights since making his pro debut in 2018, including a perfect 5-0 score in the octagon. She has victories over Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, Mayra Bueno Silva and Tabatha Ricci and is ready to challenge for the flyweight title herself.
It’s a reward that makes Namajunas feel energized about her next booking.
“Overall, I think Manon as an opponent is exciting,” Namajunas said. “She’s a real fighter. She’s not just a fighter or an athlete. She’s all of those things. But I remember watching her. I think she’s from the Contender Series. ‘She’s so bad. She really has outstanding skills.’
“I like girls who can attack. I like the well-rounded woman in MMA that she is, but of course she has a background in karate, her style and everything, even her little attitude, all her arrogance. That’s what brings out the rivalry in me. And I like that.”
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