Rose Namajunas was able to successfully defend her title in a rematch with Weili Zhang, at UFC 268. Now that this is out of the way, she feels that there is no other challenge for her besides Carla Esparza.
Namajunas made history when she beat Weili earlier this year, becoming the first female fighter to become a two-time champion in the UFC. However she had to do it again at UFC 268, and was clearly up for the challenge, winning a split decision in a much more competitive bout.
Speaking on The MMA Hour, Thug Rose said that she was a bit surprised that Weili did not try to come forward and be more aggressive this time around. That said, by the time the fight was over, she felt good about how things went, and confident that she won.
“I feel really good. I would’ve liked to do certain things better, but ultimately I’m really happy with myself. There was just certain things in my gameplan, that we trained six months specifically not to do, that I ended up doing. I’ll maybe keep those things to myself, but it maybe made things harder than they needed to be. Ultimately though, I adjusted and I figured things out, but yeah, it was stupid,” Namajunas said.
“I thought she was going to come forward a little bit more. I knew she’s a counter striker, she always sits back, she’s just going to try and counter you. She doesn’t really have that much offense, but I just thought she was going to try at least,.”
Rose Namajunas Wants Carla Esparza Next
Before the UFC announced that Rose Namajunas would rematch Weili Zhang, fans expected that she would fight surging contender and former champ, Carla Esparza instead. At the time though, Rose said that was okay, because she felt that Weili was the toughest challenge for her at 115lb.
With that hurdle crossed, Rose is ready to face Carla next, and attempt to avenge her 2014 loss to the former champ. She says that with Weili vanquished for now, Carla has become the most dangerous threat to her crown, which makes her more excited now than she would have been.
“I would like to, yeah I would like to. I don’t see anything else that makes sense… I think she’s going to give it all she’s got. Before, I said Weili is for sure the most dangerous threat right now, just because of the tools she possess. Now, after that, Carla’s for sure going to be the most dangerous opponent right this second, because of where she’s at, her last performance, all this stuff,” Namajunas said.
“She’s fought for a long time, so I would imagine she’s going to be pretty motivated for this huge opportunity. So that is something that really excites me and interests me, now even more than before.”
Dana White has said that he had other opponents in mind, that could be bigger fights for Rose Namajunas. However it is hard to deny that Carla Esparza is deserving of the title shot, and it would be an exciting rematch.