Rose Namajunas has been largely absent from the sport since a stinker of a fight against Carla Esparza that cost her the women’s Strawweight belt (lowlights here). Nearly 1.5 years later, she’s back this weekend (Sat., Sept. 2, 2023) against rising French contender Manon Fiorot, in the co-main event of UFC Paris.
During her UFC Paris media appearance, Namajunas explained her decision to pack on 10 pounds of muscle and test the Flyweight waters.
“I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, honestly,” she said. “When I made a bunch of goals for my career early on when I was younger, being a two-division champ was kind of on the end of the list, but it was there. So, here we are and I think I’m known for surprising people, so it’s just kind of my style.
“Earlier on in my career I was maybe a smaller strawweight, you would say,” she added. “And then over time as I’ve matured and my body changed each fight the cut would get bigger and bigger. And the fight with Carla [Esparza], I think that weight cut I had the sunken in eyes and other things fighters deal with. I didn’t like that.
“I never really enjoyed cutting anyways, I never really liked when people did those huge cuts,” she finished. “A little bit is okay. But, I started to see myself going down the [higher weight class] path.”
“Thug Rose” addressed the criticism over her last fight with Carla Esparza, which was a big nothingburger with barely any offense to judge. She ended up losing to “Cookie Monster” via split decision.
“It did [bother me] at first, but I kind of deserved it,” Namajunas said. “I was a little bitter. But yeah, I just had to get out of my feelings a little bit and realize that yeah, I might have things and challenges that I deal with, but that’s not anybody else’s business, right? They’re just here to be inspired, be entertained, or to learn something.
“It’s my job as a martial artist is to go out there and do my job. I did my job, but I definitely could have did a better job,” Namajunas continued. “That was definitely one of the most boring fights ever, so ...”
“It’s not just a sport for me, it’s art,” she concluded. “So, when somebody critiques your art, you get a little emotional. But ultimately, it’s fair to say what they said because it was really ... nothing really happened.”
Namajunas will have another chance to make beautiful art when she faces Fiorot at UFC Paris this weekend.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Paris fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 3 p.m. ET.
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