Yan Xiaonan has her eyes on Rose Namajunas next time out.
Xiaonan entered her first UFC main event on Saturday at UFC Vegas 61 against Mackenzie Dern in a crucial fight for the strawweight division. The Chinese fighter was coming off back-to-back losses to Marina Rodriguez – by split decision and Carla Esparza by TKO. She was the sizeable betting underdog against Dern but got the decision win, although one judge had it as a draw.
With Yan Xiaonan returning to the win column, and now entering the top-five at strawweight, she hopes to face Namajunas next time out in a potential number one contender fight.
“I will discuss with my coaches and my management team to see who is next. But, there is always a name that I want to fight, other than fighting for the belt. The name is Rose Namajunas, because everyone recognizes that she’s probably the best fighter in the division. So yeah, I want her. Of course (she’s who I wish to fight next). I like this matchup,” Xiaonan said on The MMA Hour about who she wants to fight next.
On paper, a scrap between Xiaonan and Namajunas does make sense given that the former champ does not have an opponent with the rest of the top-five being booked. Esparza is set to defend her belt against Weili Zhang while Marina Rodriguez will take on Amanda Lemos leaving Xiaonan and Namajunas as the two on the outside.
Yan Xiaonan (16-3 and one No Contest), as mentioned, returned to the win column with the victory over Dern after the back-to-back losses. Prior to the setbacks, Xiaonan started out her UFC career 6-0 with wins over Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Angela Hill, Syuri Kondo, Viviane Pereira, and Kailin Curran. Namajunas, meanwhile, is a two-time strawweight champ and has notable wins over Weili Zhang, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and Jessica Andrade among others.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime