Rose Namajunas is a big star in the strawweight division. The lightest division in the UFC, just put on one of the best fights ever. Of late, the division has seen the title move around. That trend started with Rose.
First she beat Joanna Jedzrejczyk for the title. It was a huge upset. She kept the title in her first defence against Joanna. Next she faced Jessica Andrade. Most fans agree that Rose looked great. She moved better than she had before. Then it ended in a flash. Rose found herself slammed on the side of her head.
After the fight Rose dropped a shocker. “We’ll see if I’m still interested in this. I know I could beat her but… I dunno” said Rose. Rose talked about leaving the fight game for a simpler life. She talked the pressure she felt. Her first reaction after losing the belt was relief. She felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulder.
There were two concerns for Rose’s fans. First, was she alright from the fight? The slam KO was vicious and looked very nasty. Rose had landed at a bad angle. Second, how serious was she? Would that really be the last time they saw her compete? Rose was young. She looked her best and was likely to peak soon.
In the meanwhile, the title changed hands once more. Weili Zhang beat Andrade and became champ. Thus the UFC crowned it’s first Chinese champ. Weili and Joanna just put on a classic for the title.
But last year, Weili talked about Rose. The champ considers Rose to be her “toughest test”. Her words came just after Rose’s fans got some good news. Rose was coming back.
Rose Namajunas confirms her return
She told ESPNs Ariel Helwani, that she found her passion for fighting again.
Rose opened up on the show. “I realised that this is not the kind of thing you can do half assed” she said. While she enjoyed the belt, the pressure took a toll. Rose enjoyed the Joanna fights, but her last bout was strained. She found that preparing for Andrade’s style was draining. In this way, being champ was gift and a curse.
Ariel made some interesting comparisons. Comparisons with Demetrious Johnson and Anderson Silva. Both of these legends had alluded to something similar.
Rose put all those concerns to rest. She had found her passion again. Visiting old coaches had done the trick.
Rose has taken her time with this comeback. She turned down a title fight with Weili as she felt unready. However, she is currently set to face Andrade in a rematch at UFC 249.
The event will be headlined by Khabib and Tony. Should the event take place, most eyes will be on them. That is only apt for a fight which has been in the works for so long. But Rose fans will see their wishes granted too. If the last fight between them is anything to go by, the fans will be in for a special treat.