Rose Namajunas is so much more than a famous girlfriend.
Not too shabby for her second professional fight.
Namajunas will face her stiffest test to date tonight (July 13, 2013) when she takes on fellow top unbeaten prospect Tecia Torres in the opening bout of the Invicta FC 6 pay-per-view main card in Kansas City, Missouri.
The talented 21-year old strawweight spoke to MMAmania.com during a guest appearance on The Verbal Submission talking about the emotional cost of fighting, preparing for her toughest opponent and even sensory deprivation tanks in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): We've all seen the videos of Pat going crazy in your corner when you're competing inside the Invicta cage. Is it just as stressful for you when he's stepping into the Octagon?
Rose Namajunas: Yeah, it's actually kind of funny because the last time he fought was the first time of me being there in person to see it live. All the other times it's been way worse because I wasn't in control. I wasn't able to talk to him that much during the whole fight week but last time I was able to be there with him and I was a lot more calm and relaxed and I wasn't as worried going into this one as I was in some of the other ones, thinking "Oh, how does he feel? blah, blah, blah," stuff like that. This one, I still was going a bit crazy but it wasn't as extreme as when I was at home.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Pat's result in his last fight wasn't optimal. Do you feel like you almost need to go crazy a bit to give him that extra amount of support?
Rose Namajunas: Nah, I don't think I have too much affect on his performance if at all. As long as I'm not a huge bitch or something. (laughs)
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You have a very bubbly personality with the fun videos we've all seen, almost happy-go-lucky, but you're a completely different person when it's time to step into the cage. What's the process like for you of getting into character?
Rose Namajunas: I think it's just a day to day type of thing that we practice all the time in training. We definitely have our serious moments and we also have our sit back laughing and joking moments. They aren't mutually exclusive. They switch back and forth all the time. I don't know if I believe in zodiac signs or things like that but somebody said that Cancers are really emotional and I'm definitely an emotional person.
I kind of channel whatever I'm feeling at that moment, I use that to empower me and give me energy. At weigh-ins I'm usually really serious and then leading up to the fight as well. I have other personalities as well. You can use a loving personality, a happy and energetic personality to boost you and drive you but for me, it always tends to be more serious side come fight time but I can flip the switch real quick.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now were you just in a really impatient mood for the last fight? Is that why it only lasted 12 seconds?
Rose Namajunas: (laughs) Well I guess in some ways I'm impatient. It's actually kind of funny that you say that.. I'm actually an impatient person. My personality, I just want the results right now in every aspect of my life. That's just something that Pat and I work out with each other because he's actually the extreme opposite and we compliment each other.
For the last fight, I wasn't so much impatient as I had a sense of urgency. My ankle was really injured and maybe subconsciously I knew in the back of my mind that I had to end it quickly because I didn't know how stable my ankle would be. At the same time, if I could end it in five seconds every time that would be ideal. You don't want to sit there and wait the whole time. Regardless of the circumstances, if I could end it quick that would be great.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Many view that submission as one of 2013's finest. Who's really been helping you take your Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the next level?
Rose Namajunas: I've worked with Greg Nelson ever since I moved to Minnesota. Greg Nelson is the shit. Pardon my French but he explains jiu-jitsu in a way that's not just jiu-jitsu oriented but also MMA-oriented and it really makes a whole lot of sense to me. It just clicked and I feel like my jiu-jitsu and overall MMA game has just gone to a whole 'nother level ever since going there.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): The stakes have increased with each one of your fights. Where do you think you stand as you head into this upcoming bout against fellow 2-0 prospect Tecia Torres?
Rose Namajunas: It's actually a weird dynamic with every fight being a bigger fight each time and how it's gradually increasing. At the same time, it's always the same leading up to it. If every fight is the same as the last fight, you have to treat it the same. It's always going to be the biggest fight. My new experience level with more knowledge, more conditioning and strength also plays into it. It kind of levels out to where it was the last time. Yes, my opponent is at a new level, but I'm also at a new level as a fighter because of my personal growth. It keeps me from plateauing.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Many experts have you and Tecia pegged as the top two prospects at 115 pounds. Are you surprised that you're both getting matched up against each other just three fights into your pro careers?
Rose Namajunas: No, I kind of foresaw this fight happening before I even got into Invicta. Ever since I was coming up in the amateur ranks I noticed her and heard about her so I knew this fight was inevitable. I was thinking I'd actually get her for my last fight but they felt Kathina was the fight they wanted me to have and now I have Tecia.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now after a fight, it's not just a physical adrenaline dump, I've heard fighters also experience an emotional dump. Like all those last three months of hard work entirely focused on this one moment and now it's over. Can you take me through what's going through your head right after a fight's over?
Rose Namajunas: Yeah, oh my god. It's a feeling that's really hard to explain, especially after the last one. It's kinda like a surreal feeling. You need a week to really sort things out, go over what happened and convince yourself and believe it just happened. It's hard really form into words and grasp what is going on. Maybe a big sense of relief and at the same time, you're still stuck in the moment. When you're in the cage, you're really stuck in the moment and there's so many things outside the cage that don't matter at all when you're in there. So when you get out of such a live and present moment, it's kinda hard to not stay in that because you're sort of living in the past almost.
I might sound crazy right now but you kinda want to keep revisiting that moment and the farther you get from the fight, the more that feeling changes and the more your thoughts change on the fight. Overall, though, it's a sense of relief and a struggle between stopping to smell the roses and moving on to the next step. You don't want to hold onto it too much but you also want to appreciate what just happened.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Okay, this question has nothing to do with MMA. What's the strangest experience you've ever had while in a sensory deprivation tank?
Rose Namajunas: Oh man. Now, I feel like I've done it so many times, it's kind of a normal experience for me. I feel like I'm trying to figure that out, that anyone else who's done sensory deprivation tanks has experienced that. If they have, let me know so I don't feel like I'm going crazy. Other than the lights and the noises, it's just that numb feeling where you can't really feel your body and you don't really know where you're at. That's creepy and weird but at the same time it's a really euphoric and relaxing feeling as well.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What are you expecting against Tecia Torres?
Rose Namajunas: Well I'm expecting a win in my favor. I'm not gonna go for the decision so whether it's by submission or knockout, I prefer knockout. I feel the chances of this fight ending on the feet are greater than ending on the ground. That's where I see it going.
Rose would like to thank Cage Potato, Fear the Fighter, Alienware, Brian Butler, Invicta, Pat Barry, Greg Nelson, Trevor Wittman, everyone at Grudge and The Academy, her mom, her family, her fans and anyone else who's helped her get to where she's at today. You can follow her on Twitter @RoseNamajunas.