Namajunas is currently in the midst of her second rule on the 115-pound throne. She first had the belt wrapped around her waist after unseating Polish great Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 217. After defending the title in an immediate rematch, Namajunas’ reign was emphatically ended courtesy of a Jéssica Andrade slam in 2019.
But the Wisconsin native’s championship experience wasn’t to end there.
Staking her second claim for the most memorable crowning in UFC history (how many fighters can say that?), “Thug Rose” shocked the world, and the first live arena crowd in over two years, by flooring then-titleholder Zhang Weili with a vicious head kick at UFC 261.
Having won the title twice, making her the only woman in UFC history to regain a belt, Namajunas is well placed to speak about the benefits of boasting champion status in the sport’s premier promotion.
Namajunas: I Know That I Am Fulfilling My Purpose
During a recent sit-down interview with Megan Olivi for ESPN MMA, Namajunas discussed how it feels to have made her way back to the top in what is undoubtedly the strongest female division in the UFC.
When asked what makes her happiest about holding the strap, the 29-year-old named the confirmation that she’s on the right path and the ability to inspire others as two of the biggest perks she experiences on the strawweight mountaintop.
“There’s definitely lots of perks… I think that, well, being the best, you get the best of everything. So, anything less than the best kinda sucks [LAUGHS],” said Namajunas. “It’s also knowing that I am just fulfilling my purpose and I know that this is where God wants me to be right now. So, I’m very grateful and willing to embrace it.
“I really enjoy how I can inspire people and stuff like that. I know it sounds cliché… but I feel that people are really touched by my story,” added Namajunas. “I feel as though I’m right in the same, like, similar spot when you’re on a video game and it’s like, ‘Alright, I’m on the boss level now.'”
If Namajunas is to retain those benefits beyond May 7, she’ll have to achieve a feat that she failed to accomplish back in 2014: beat Carla Esparza.
The pair will run it back in this weekend’s UFC 274 co-main event. As well as avenging her past loss to “Cookie Monster,” Namajunas will be looking to keep hold of her champion advantages by advancing her second title reign beyond the length of her first with victory in Arizona.
Do you think that Rose Namajunas will keep hold of her title at UFC 274 this weekend?