Thursday, December 8, 2022

Rose Namajunas Explains Why This Time As Champion Is Different

Rose Namajunas feels this time around as champion is different than the first.

Rose Namajuans is preparing for her first title defense since she reclaimed the strawweight crown. Namajunas will be taking on Weili Zhang in the co-main event of the UFC 268 event to be held on Nov. 6. Although this is the first time Namajunas will defend the belt in this run, she has done it before. She was the champion back in 2017 before ultimately losing the belt to Jéssica Andrade.

Namajunas took some time to explain the differences she feels holding the belt now as opposed to the first time around.

“The first time I felt like it was a shackle and chain,” Namajunas told Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour. “I was like—I had to fight, as opposed to, ‘This is what’s motivating me. This is what I want to do’ and all the possibilities that come with it.”

Namajunas is more acclimated to the fighting lifestyle since the last time she held the strap. Three years have passed, and Namajunas has put together some big wins. She feels more comfortable in the champion’s role and spoke about that as well.

“Obviously, just the fighting lifestyle I think expands your horizons, your opportunities tenfold as far as what you can do with your time and opportunities and things like that,” Namajunas said. “But I think the belt, sometimes, as you’re chasing the belt and you’re approaching it, you don’t really consider all of the pressure and things and all the extra responsibilities that come with it. But then you also learn how to say no sometimes. You learn how to prioritize your time and make sure you’re focused on just making sure you prioritize your training. But sometimes you feel like once you get it, you’ve made it or something, you know what I mean? It’s like, no, it’s just another step up on the ladder.”

Namajunas has been vocal in the past about her struggles with being a champion and having a passion for fighting. She was even called out by Dana White about not wanting to take a title shot. That is all in the past as she is close to extending her title run by getting past Zhang. Namajunas has the chance to prove that she is the rightful queen at 115 pounds in Madison Square Garden, the place she won the belt the first time around.

Do you think Rose Namajumas can keep her championship run alive at UFC 268?