After a year away from competition, many wondered what kind of Rose Namajunas we’d see in the cage at UFC 237. The answer, it turns out, was the best damn “Thug Rose” we’ve ever seen. Her movement and striking had already been proven legit after two wins over Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but what we saw in Rio was a whole new level.
Unfortunately for Namajunas, that wasn’t enough to earn the win. After dominating Jessica Andrade through the first round, the powerful Brazilian landed a big slam in the second knocked “Thug Rose” out (watch the highlights here).
Interviewed in the cage, Namajunas sounded almost relieved to have lost her strawweight title, saying it felt like a huge pressure had been lifted off of her. She expanded on that comment with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter and made it clear she was considering an end to her fighting career.
”It’s just a huge pressure, you always got to obsess about everything,” she said about the belt. “I think what it is, is prior to becoming a champ you put a lot of importance on getting the belt and all that stuff. It is important, but it’s only kind of financially important. Really, at the end of the day, it’s all about facing your fears and to me, I realized once I’ve become a champ and defending the belt, having the belt itself is ... it’s cool, but it doesn’t mean as much as I think people put meaning on it.”
Rose Namajunas reflects on her time as strawweight champion and hints that retirement may be an option and a possible instant rematch could also be in the cards. pic.twitter.com/wLc18He71T— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) May 12, 2019
”It’s just a materialistic thing that ends up controlling your life, and really, it’s like ... I went out there and had fun and I challenged myself. I have some many other things to look forward to. It’s just a part of me and it’s an accomplishment. Maybe I’ll get it again, maybe I won’t. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll never do this again. We’ll see.”
Namajunas didn’t seem particularly deflated by the loss and was even confident that a rematch would end differently.
“I definitely know I can beat her,” she said. “I just have to make sure that I want to and I want to do this.”
Soon after, Rose attended the UFC 237 post-event press conference and again voiced her thoughts on hanging up her gloves.
”I just want to do something else with my life right now,” she said. “I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m not going to make any decisions right now. I don’t know. It was just ... hard to keep having fun with this.”
“I made it a point, a big motivation for me is to not waste my potential and stuff,” Namajunas said when asked if she’d be happy with her legacy if she retired now. “But maybe I should have said instead of ‘not waste my potential,’ like, ‘reach my potential.’ Like shoot for the top. Instead of kind of a negative thing. But I know if I sit down and think about it with some time, I’ll figure out mentally where I messed up. I already kind of know some of the reasons.”