‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas Sets Sight on Becoming a Two-Division Champion by the End of 2024

Namajunas will attempt to take her first step toward flyweight title contention when she meets Amanda Ribas in a UFC Fight Night headliner on Saturday

Rose Namajunas
Courtesy of @UFC on X

‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas has her sights set on becoming a two-division champion in 2024. 

On Saturday, March 23, the former two-time strawweight titleholder will return to the Octagon for a UFC Fight Night headliner against the No. 8 ranked flyweight contender, Amanda Ribas. It will be Namajunas’ second time competing at 125 after coming up short in her divisional debut against Manon Fiorot in September. 

Speaking with members of the press during Wednesday’s UFC media day, Namajunas spoke about her opportunity to break into the rankings and expressed confusion over the fact that she’s part of the P4P top 10, but does not currently hold a spot in the flyweight division’s top 15.

“For some reason, I’m not ranked even though I’m pound-for-pound ranked so that’s super strange,” Namajunas said. “I never really paid attention to rankings, but now I’m like, it’d be nice to be ranked so I was very excited to hear that name. But I was ready for anybody. I didn’t really care who popped up.”

As for her opponent, Rose Namajunas is excited to go toe-to-toe with another durable and exciting fighter. The Brazilian beauty is a solid 7-3 inside the Octagon with wins over Mackenzie Dern, Paige VanZant, Luana Pinheiro, and Viviane Araujo.

However, this will be Ribas’ first five-round fight under the UFC banner. By comparison, Namajunas has stepped inside the Octagon prepared to go a full 25 minutes on seven separate occasions.

“She’s very tough. She’s not a quitter,” she continued. “Even when she’s losing a fight, she’s still looking for a way to win so I have to be prepared for that. I have to be prepared for five rounds regardless, but especially with her. I have a lot of five-round experience. I know how to prepare for that and it makes me feel better to know that I have that time to do whatever it is I’ve got to do. As soon as I get that opportunity to finish her, I’m finishing.”

Rose Namajunas Plans to Add Another World Title to Her Mantle by the End of 2024

With a win over Ribas, Namajunas will likely land herself a spot in the flyweight top 10, setting the stage for a potential title fight with the division’s reigning champion, Alexa Grasso

“Becoming two-division champion this year would be awesome. But I know that’s a very steep mountain to climb, and I know I have had some setbacks so I obviously I got to be realistic, but I do believe that is very realistic, and anything, God willing that is what is going to happen. I just have to take care business of this weekend,” Namajunas said.

With her already holding two wins over the current strawweight queen Zhang Weili, Namajunas was asked whether or not she would be interested in moving back down to take the 115-pound title back, should she first succeed in claiming the flyweight belt. 

“I just think health-wise, to me, it is just not a healthy thing to do at this point,” she said of a potential return to strawweight. “I know that I could keep pushing through it, my mind got a lot stronger with cutting the weight but I could tell my body was not liking that as much. I could tell from my last strawweight fight, my eyes were sunken in and it’s hard to see myself like that. Even though the will gets stronger, the flesh gets weaker so to me, I’m all about health and wellness, even though we are about to go and fight, I want to preserve as much as possible.”

Watch the full interview below:

Published on March 21, 2024 at 11:54 am
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