Monday, December 6, 2021

Rose Namajunas Reveals She Turned Down UFC Title Shot Against Weili Zhang

Rose Namajunas was offered a UFC title opportunity against Weili Zhang but the timing wasn’t right.

Namajunas is no stranger to UFC gold. She was once the UFC strawweight champion with a successful title defense to her credit. She ended up losing the championship against Jessica Andrade via KO slam. “Thug” Rose contemplated retirement as she started to lose her love for fighting.

Namajunas Turned Down Zhang Fight

Since that time, Weili Zhang ran through Andrade to become the 115-pound ruler. Namajunas has got the itch to return as she’ll look for redemption against Andrade on April 18 at UFC 249. Appearing on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Namajunas admitted she turned down a title bout against Zhang (h/t MMAJunkie.com).

“I think everyone else felt the same way, too,” Namajunas said. “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.’”

That title opportunity ended up going to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Namajunas holds two victories over Jedrzejczyk. Zhang’s next title bout will be this Saturday night (March 7) in the co-main event of UFC 248.

Many believe that Namajunas’ rematch with Andrade will be telling for her fighting future. If she can look as sharp as she did in the opening round of the first fight and prevent Andrade’s strength from being the difference-maker, it’s safe to say that Namajunas will get another chance at UFC gold. If not, then it could very well be the end for “Thug” Rose inside the Octagon.

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