Former UFC Women’s Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas has explained why she turned down a title shot against Weili Zhang.
Rose Namajunas appeared on a recent episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast. She talked about a potential title shot against Zhang and why she turned it down. The former champion says she simply didn’t know if she wanted to continue competing at the time — which seems like a fair reason not to go against the division’s top fighter.
“I think everyone else felt the same way, too,” Namajunas said (from MMA Junkie). “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. And so there was a lot of work that needed to be done.
“I wasn’t ready for that just yet. 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.’”
Namajunas hasn’t been seen in the Octagon since she lost her UFC Women’s Strawweight title to Jessica Andrade, who then lost it to Zhang. Rose Namajunas was beat by Jessica Andrade by TKO after she slammed Rose her head, rendering her unable to continue.
Now, Namajunas admits that it was tough for her to deal with that loss — especially because of its violent nature — but eventually she got over it and was able to move on.
“It was definitely one of my harder losses that I’ve dealt with,” Namajunas said, looking back on that loss. “I think the thing is, I knew exactly – it was easier in the sense that I knew exactly all of the things that I did wrong. The harder part is taking responsibility for myself, and yeah, maybe situations around me that I couldn’t control could have been better. But I could have taken control over a lot more things in my life. So ultimately, taking that responsibility is the hardest part out of everything.
“I got dropped on my head – I could have been paralyzed. It’s like, ‘Well, I wasn’t paralyzed, so why should I be paralyzed in fear if it didn’t happen?’” Namajunas added. “I should celebrate the fact that I’m walking around and it’s a miracle that my neck feels better than it’s ever felt in the past few years. Prior to that happening, I had a fracture in my neck, so it was hurting a lot – and after that, I feel great.”
Rose Namajunas is scheduled to rematch Jessica Andrade at UFC 249 this April in Brooklyn. The winner will most likely be next in line to challenge for the Strawweight title. Meanwhile, Weili Zhang is defending the title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 this weekend. Jedrzejczyk has said that if she wins she would like her 1st-title defense to be against Namajunas.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 4th March, 2020.