Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas, had the opportunity to reclaim her 115-pound strap, but only if she was willing to step into the cage against newly-crowned division titleholder, Weili Zhang.
A fight that “Magnum,” like the promotion, was hoping to score.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, Namajunas was forced to decline the championship offer to instead work on her own well being, something that had been neglected prior to her Jessica Andrade loss at UFC 237 last May.
“I was even offered Weili at the time, but I just – at the time I was still dealing with a lot of my own (things), just getting my head right, and I hired a mental coach that’s helping me do a lot of different things,” Namajunas told UFC Unfiltered (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “And so there was a lot of work that needed to be done.”
Namajunas (8-4) was instead booked to rematch Andrade at the UFC 249 pay-per-view (PPV) event, which takes place on April 18, 2020, inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The winner is expected to be next in line for the 115-pound title.
“I wasn’t ready for that just yet,” Namajunas continued. “I didn’t even really know if I wanted to fight at that time anymore, just because I wanted to make sure that this is something that I wanted to do and I wasn’t just like, ‘Let’s have another fight just because I’m good at it.’”
Zhang will instead fight former strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, in the UFC 248 co-main event this weekend in Las Vegas (more on that here).