Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas hasn’t competed in 14 months, as she’s been on the sidelines since losing her 115-pound title in a brutal stoppage defeat to Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 in May 2019.
Despite the long layoff, Namajunas is set to make her return and she’ll get a chance to exact revenge on Andrade, as the two are set to square off on the UFC 251 main card this Saturday on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Following the loss to Andrade, Namajunas was forced to deal with some personal issues in addition to losing her belt and it’s been a bit of a difficult road back to the octagon for the fighter known as “Thug” Rose.
“I had to kind of just stop thinking about fighting… even though I did want to fight more often, there was just something that was missing in my life…” Namajunas said via FanSided MMA while speaking to the media earlier today . “Really just getting back to enjoying life again, not worrying so much about penny-pinching and just looking for adventure more than just thinking about money so much.
“I think the most challenging part was finding confidence in myself again. It had been missing for a while… It’s kind of the most important thing, my belief in myself.”
Discussing the first fight with Andrade, Namajunas admits that her confidence was a bit off, although she feels as if she’s now fixed that issue, which, in her opinion, should result in a strong performance this weekend.
“In the first fight, I had some confidence, but it wasn’t all the way real,” she said.
“Now I have much more genuine confidence, real confidence based on my preparation, not just based on what I did before. And just technically speaking, I think we patched up some holes but really, overall it’s the mentality and it comes from the preparation, and I think that’s the biggest difference. I’ll be more myself and look more like… my other fights where I was being myself but more a 2020 version of that.”
With a 6-3 overall record in the UFC and victories over notable names such as Angela Hill, Tecia Torres, Michelle Waterson, and fellow former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Namajunas is without question one of the best 115 pounders in the world.
And in the rematch against Andrade, who’s coming off of a vicious TKO loss to current champion Zhang Weili, Namajunas will be looking to make a statement.
“I’m a natural-born finisher,” she said. “When I smell blood, I’m the best at that. I don’t need to force anything, I just need to be myself, stay disciplined for 15-minutes and the finish will present itself.”