Rose Namajunas losing to Carla Esparza back in 2014 may have been a blessing in disguise. At least, that’s what the UFC Strawweight Champion thinks.
The 29 year-old had her first shot at UFC gold at only 22 years old. She’d face Esparza for the inaugural strawweight title years ago, where she ultimately lost by submission. If Rose won, she’d be the youngest UFC Champion in history, surpassing Jon Jones at 23.
However, that wasn’t the case. Instead, Namajunas would go on two title reigns years after the fact. Looking back at her title opportunity, perhaps it was for the best that she didn’t win the world title at such a young age.
“Had I won that fight, who knows where I would be,” Namajunas said on The MMA Hour. “I was going to be youngest champion, like, younger than Jon Jones. Not definitely, but I can only imagine that with winning a fight like that at that point in my life, I probably would have crashed a few cars, or been doing all kinds of bad things. My life probably would have been way more out of control.
“Joanna [Jedrzejczyk] probably would have whipped my ass.”
‘Thug’ Wouldn’t Change Anything
Namajunas has no regrets with how her career panned out.
“I wouldn’t go back and change anything for nothing,” Namajunas continued. “That fight was the best thing that probably happened to me in my whole career. All of my losses have done wonders for me. But that one in particular, there was a lot of information that I downloaded.
‘I’m More Solid In Life’
The loss to Esparza played its part in Namajunas’ UFC run and evolution as a fighter. The young gun would turn into a smart sniper by the time she turned 29 years old. With losses to pick apart, she learned from them enough to once again become a UFC Champion.
“The difference between first title reign and now is I think I’m more grateful, way more aware of what it is that I’m doing and how to do it and how to make my dream come true, instead of just the blind leading the blind. I’m more solid in life, and I’m super grateful for everything.”
Rose Namajunas will look to get redemption against Carla Esparza at UFC 274 on May 7th.