Rose Namajunas doesn’t hold back when assessing her most recent bout.
It’s been a grueling 15 months since Rose Namajunas saw her second strawweight title reign conclude in an underwhelming manner at UFC 274. Known by her moniker “Thug Rose,” she had the opportunity to avenge her 2014 defeat against Carla Esparza. However, after an uninspiring 25 minutes where neither fighter managed to seize the spotlight, Esparza scraped by with a split decision victory, once again denying Namajunas a shot at the championship belt.
Looking back, does Namajunas believe the backlash was unjust?
“No, that was undeniably one of the most tedious fights in history,” Namajunas candidly remarked during Wednesday’s media day for UFC Paris. “I mean, it’s interesting how it feels a bit different when you’re the fighter. This isn’t merely a sport for me; it’s an art. So, when someone critiques your art, it can stir up emotions.
“Ultimately, I have to admit that what they said was valid because there was hardly any action. I got a bit caught up in my emotions because there’s always this unspoken expectation that ‘the challenger has to take the title.’ But, well, I have to shoulder the blame.”
Before that disappointing showdown, Namajunas had accumulated a repertoire of impressive moments, featuring unforgettable finishes against the likes of Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, among others. She had also participated in several exhilarating battles that extended to the full distance.
She conceded that the unfavorable reception to this rare off-night initially got under her skin.
“Initially, yes, it did bother me. I was slightly resentful,” admitted Namajunas. “However, I had to detach from my emotions a bit and realize that I might have my personal struggles and challenges, but they’re not really anyone else’s concern. People are here to be inspired, entertained, or to learn something. As a martial artist, my duty is to perform and fulfill that role.”
Namajunas is now striving for a fresh start in a new weight division. This Saturday, she’s moving up to 125 pounds to face top contender Manon Fiorot. A victory could propel Namajunas up the flyweight rankings, potentially positioning her as the leading contender for the winner of the September 16 title clash between champion Alexa Grasso and former champion Valentina Shevchenko.
For the moment, Namajunas is fully concentrated on Fiorot and doesn’t mind leaving the contender chatter to others.
“No presumptions,” Namajunas responded when asked if she would be deserving of a title shot after UFC Paris. “I’m just hoping and praying that I can be a vessel for God’s purpose and hopefully I can deliver a strong performance that inspires people. If everything else falls into place, that would be a dream realized. It was part of my goals. However, I’m not looking too far into the future; I’m living in the present.”
You can watch Namajunas’ complete interview from UFC Paris, courtesy of The Mac Life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MMA Reflection
What was the outcome of Rose Namajunas’ fight at UFC 274?
Rose Namajunas faced Carla Esparza at UFC 274, and after a lackluster 25-minute contest, Esparza managed to secure a split decision victory over Namajunas.
How did fans and commentators react to the fight?
The fight between Namajunas and Esparza at UFC 274 was widely criticized for its lack of action and excitement. Fans, fighters, and even the fight night commentary team expressed disappointment in the overall performance.
Did Rose Namajunas feel that the criticism was unfair?
No, Rose Namajunas acknowledged that the criticism was justified. She referred to the fight as “one of the most boring fights ever” and recognized that very little happened during the match.
How did Rose Namajunas initially react to the negative reception?
Initially, Namajunas admitted that the negative reception bothered her. She felt bitter about the criticism but later realized that she needed to detach from her emotions and focus on her role as a martial artist.
What does Rose Namajunas hope to achieve after her disappointing performance?
Rose Namajunas is looking for a fresh start in a new weight division. She is moving up to 125 pounds and hopes to perform well against top contender Manon Fiorot.
Could a victory in her new division lead to a title shot for Namajunas?
Yes, a win in her new division could potentially position Rose Namajunas as the No. 1 contender for the winner of the title clash between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko on September 16.
What is Rose Namajunas’ approach to her future in the sport?
Namajunas is focused on the present and not making presumptions about future title shots. She aims to be a vessel for a higher purpose and hopes to inspire people through her performances.
Where can I watch Rose Namajunas’ full interview from UFC Paris?
You can watch the complete interview with Rose Namajunas from UFC Paris on The Mac Life platform.