Rose Namajunas’ next move in mixed martial arts (MMA) should be interesting.
The former two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Strawweight champion hasn’t fought since dropping her crown in a May 2022 rematch with Carla Esparza (watch highlights). Namajunas has gone on to help finish a documentary about her life and career before scheduling an upcoming grappling match against UFC Flyweight hopeful, Gillian Robertson.
“Thug” has exclusively fought at 115 pounds throughout her career, but the match with Robertson acts as the first indication of a possible move in divisions. According to No. 1-ranked contender, Manon Fiorot, she’s been hearing rumblings and likes the idea of welcoming the former champion to 125 pounds.
“For now, I don’t care about my next opponent — I will take everyone in the division,” Fiorot told MMA Junkie. “I want a main event fight to keep some eyes on me and get some experience before I fight for the belt.
“Waiting on Valentina [Shevchenko] is not an option for me, because I really want to fight in August,” she continued. “In my mind, in my mindset, I say to everyone I will beat Valentina. So if I say that, I can win against anybody in the division. So I don’t care who I fight in August. I don’t know against who, but I heard two weeks or three weeks ago that Rose wants to move up to the Flyweight division. I’m the No. 1 contender, so if she comes, she has to fight me. Then after we can see.”
A Shevchenko versus Fiorot match up looks like the most likely possibility with most recent title challenger, Taila Santos, landing an Erin Blanchfield bout in Feb. 2023. Fiorot, however, is healing from some lingering injuries and wants to be 100 percent before a big potential summer time title opportunity.
The Nice, France, native has won every fight since her professional debut (10-1) in June 2018. At UFC 280 in Oct. 2022, Fiorot solidified herself atop the contenders’ list, defeating Katlyn Chookagian via unanimous decision.