Reigning UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas will try to continue her dominance later tonight (Sat., May 11, 2019) at UFC 237 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when she puts her title on the line against divisional bruiser Jessica Andrade.
Despite her success atop the women’s 115-pound division, which includes back-to-back wins over former pound-for-pound standout and UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Namajunas remains the betting underdog entering Saturday’s main event in Brazil. It’s not unfamiliar territory for Namajunas considering she’s been proving doubters wrong her entire career, but it shows how difficult this particular title defense could end up being.
UFC president Dana White recently discussed Namajunas’ matchup with Andrade and believes everyone is overlooking “Thug” yet again.
“This is a really tough fight for her. Andrade is a beast, an absolutely beast,” said White during a recent appearance on the Jim Rome show (transcription via MMA Weekly). “A lot of people think Andrade is going to run right through Rose but let’s not forget Rose beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk twice and everybody on her way to get to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She looks better every time she fights.
“This is one of those fights I have no idea how this is going to go. I get why Rose is the underdog but people are underestimating Rose once again.”
While Namajunas will be defending her title against one of the most dangerous fighters in the division in one of the most hostile environments in MMA, it’s a situation that the champion was willing to put herself in. That’s rare in today’s MMA as some titleholders try to pick and choose their way to perfection.
“A lot of people will not go down to Brazil,” White said. “They fear that they don’t get the right call from the judges and the crowd is so hostile. It’s basically Brazil versus the world,” White explained.
“When I tell you this, we called Rose Namajunas and told her this fight and told her that she was going to be defending her title in Brazil, on Andrade’s home turf, [she] didn’t even flinch. Didn’t even question it. Nothing. She just accepted the fight and I have a lot of respect for her for that.”
If Namajunas is able to knock off Andrade the same way she dominated Jedrzejczyk in her last two Octagon outings it may be time to consider ”Thug” the best women’s strawweight fighter of all time. At that point, she wouldn’t be a betting underdog anymore.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 237 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the ESPN+ PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.