Former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas got a big win in her rematch against Jessica Andrade at UFC 251 this past weekend, and she credits where she was mentally and in preparation for her performance. Namajunas picked up a split decision victory over Andrade who beat her back at UFC 237 in 2019, which made Andrade the champion at the time.
Since their first fight, Andrade dropped the title to Weili Zhang who has since gone on to defend her title in a memorable fight against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk back in March. With Namajunas back in the win column, she’s looking to get her title back and says she felt more comfortable and calm going into the rematch against Andrade because she has been in the cage with her before.
During an interview with ‘MMA Tonight’ on Sirius XM, Namajunas explained how the first fight against Andrade helped her prepare for the rematch and why she felt more calm going into UFC 251.
🔊 @rosenamajunas discusses how her mentality differs for a rematch, and reveals if retirement was on her mind pending the outcome of her fight at #UFC251. 🤔@RJcliffordMMA @lionheartasmith pic.twitter.com/sE14lOO2vi
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) July 16, 2020
“Yes and no. I think just psychologically, nobody embarrassed me like that ever in a fight so that was something I had to overcome,” Namajunas said. “But at the same time I was just so ready, I was so well prepared. I agree I do better when I know my opponent more so that helps but it’s a little more daunting sometimes, there’s more to think about it. But at the same time, you are a little more comfortable because you kind of know a little bit of what to expect or at least you can create the variables in which you think is most likely going to happen. I was just so prepared and very confident in myself that this is one of the best feelings that I’ve had going into a fight.”
In the past, Namajunas has been candid about a potential retirement and said that coming into UFC 251, the thoughts were there as well, it just depended how the fight would play out, and after things went her way, she’s still focused on becoming champion once again.
“I mean there’s always that chance [for retirement] just after any fight, not necessarily the actual result win or loss but how the fight would have gone. There’s no safe fight, you’re always at the risk of something happening, but if I came out of that fight feeling like as if I still have it in me to take care of myself at all times and I can do this, then that’s what was going to keep me going. Right now my purpose is more specific, obviously the goal is to become champion once again and I truly believe that’s what is going to happen. Just byproduct of me being the best in the world.”
Rose Namajunas sounds focused and confident on her trail back to the UFC strawweight title and after her big rematch win over Jessica Andrade, she may be on the short list of top contenders for champion Weili Zhang.