For the first seven and a half minutes of their main event title fight at UFC 237, Rose Namajunas put on a masterclass in motion and striking against Jessica Andrade. She slipped punches, countered beautifully, and popped her jab with perfect efficiency, bloodying Andrade in the first and taking complete control of the fight early. But this is mixed martial arts, where fortunes can flip in a matter of seconds. In this case Andrade flipped Namajunas literally, picking her up and slamming her for the KO win at 2:58 of round two (watch the finish here).
For a fighter as emotional as Rose has been in the past, she took the loss pretty well. She stuck around to give an in-cage interview and didn’t seem bothered by questions of legality regarding the finish in an interview with TSN.
”Yeah I knew she was going to try and do that,” she said simply when asked if she thought Andrade’s slam constituted an illegal spike. “It was just my bad, my mistake getting lazy on that takedown. That was just a mistake on my part. A little more focus in training, a little more focus in my personal life -- not in my personal life, but just it was such a long training camp that I filled it up with other things instead of just focusing on this. But you know, just more focus.”
”I definitely was whooping her butt for sure,” Namajunas said when asked about a rematch. “I knew I had her, I think I was forcing the finish a bit. I definitely know I can beat her. I just have to make sure that I want to, and that I want to do this. There are aspects of this that are fun, and there are aspects that definitely makes me get grey hairs at f**king 26 years old.”
Namajunas wasn’t shy about openly questioning her continued commitment to fighting, going so far as to suggest this may have been her last fight. And what a shame that would be considering the skill we saw from her on Saturday night. Anyone can get caught at any time in this sport, but “Thug Rose” laid the blame in a matter-of-fact way on a momentary mental lapse during the final sequence.
”The first time was good, the second time I got a little lazy on it,” she said at the post-fight press conference regarding Andrade’s takedown slams. “I just kinda ... just got tired of being there and then I just got lazy. So yeah, there’s some things to tighten up on that. Or maybe I should have went to something different. But yeah, you can’t get lazy in there. I got a little. But maybe that’s why my neck doesn’t feel too bad right now because I did relax. But either way, I just got a little lazy.”
”Just the way it goes, I guess. Sometimes you’re in the zone, sometimes you’re not. And sometimes you can make it work and sometimes you can’t. It’s just kind of the way the cookie crumbles.”
Looking back on the whole experience and agreeing to take a difficult fight in enemy territory, Namajunas had no regrets.
“I wouldn’t go back and change anything,” she said. “Of course, there’s the ego side of me, ‘That was dumb’ — making dumb decisions. But look at when I lost to Carla [Esparza], it changed everything. Or when I lost to Karolina [Kowalkiewicz], or even before that. Those wins and losses, it’s what you do after that’s what is important.”
Now we just have to wait and see what Namajunas does after this, and if it has anything to do with cage fighting.