UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko puts the blame on the corner for Rose Namajunas’ recent loss to Carla Esparza.
At UFC 274, ‘Thug’ Rose took on the challenger Esparza for the UFC women’s strawweight title. Given her recent outings against Weili Zhang, fans were expecting another exciting showing from Rose. In a card stacked to the brim with talent, their co-main contest turned out to be a snooze fest.
Valentina Shevchenko blames Rose’s corner
As the champion of the 125-lbs division, Shevchenko is someone who understands the pressure on the queen’s shoulders going into a bout. While she sympathizes with Rose in regard to the mental stress, Shevchenko believes it’s her corner’s fault that she couldn’t get going.
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Valentina Shevchenko shared her breakdown of Rose’s lackluster performance.
“It’s hard to say exactly what went wrong in that fight. I feel that Rose, she kind of has everything better compared to Carla, and she just didn’t use much. And she could wrestle her easily… She just didn’t use her skills. I don’t know, it sometimes happens with fighters, they kind of, one day before feel so good, and the day of the fight they’re kind of like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t wanna fight.’
“You know what can help? I think, if Carla was more aggressive and explosive, and Rose received a great punch, she would have woke up and would start to fight… Rose didn’t activate… She was not herself.”
Following her title-losing efforts, her longtime partner and coach Pat Barry received a ton of criticism whilst Namajunas also received a fair share.
Shevchenko says Rose needed to wake up
During the build-up to any fight, the athletes go through a rollercoaster of emotions. While some feel ready to go on the big night, others may lose some mental toughness come fight day.
‘Bullet’ expanded on how she depends on her corner to give her that extra push when she finds herself to be struggling in a fight.
“It can happen with everyone, but every time I rely on my corner. If sometimes it happens, they would not just say, ‘Okay Valentina, okay, just do that,’ no. Pavel (Fedotov), Antonina (Shevchenko), they will yell at me and say what they think about me, what I am doing. Sometimes it’s necessary.”
Shevchenko also argued against the use of microphones in the fighters’ corners as they add unnecessary pressure to be polite.
“I feel all these microphones corners have, they put extra pressure on them to say everything too polite. Sometimes fighters don’t need polite, they need an extra push to wake up, to have adrenaline.
“You start to think, ‘If I continue to fight like that, I will lose my belt, I will lose the fight.’ Do I agree with that and continue to do nothing just to be comfortable? No, and this is what pushes me every time.”
Rose Namajunas has dropped and won her title again in the past. However, it’s likely she’ll have to wait a while for the opportunity, at least until Esparza is dethroned. UFC president Dana White shut down talks of a rematch as he believes that nobody would be interested in another fight like that one.