Rose Namajunas Names Next Strawweight Title Contender

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Rose Namajunas
Fernando Quiles Jr., MMA News

After having gladly vanquished Joanna Jedrzejczyk from strawweight title contention, Rose Namajunas has been laying low and outside of the spotlight. But as she has remained in place at the top of the strawweight food chain, the division has seen movement. In a recent interview with UFC.com, Rose Namajunas discussed whom she believes to be next in line for a title shot.

“Even after beating Joanna the second time, the division seemed to be a bit up in the air with no clear contender necessarily,” began the strawweight champion. “I’ve always had my eye on Jessica Andrade, but let’s just say her last performance definitely changed some things and made a more clear statement about who deserves the next shot.”

Previously, Rose Namajunas had declared that there was no clear #1 contender, even when Jessica Andrade appeared to be ahead of the pack in the eyes of many. But with the walkoff knockout victory over Karolina Kowalkiewicz, who holds a victory over Namajunas, Andrade now has Rose’s undivided attention. But that doesn’t mean she is the only contender who has caught the champion’s eye.

“And there’s also other interesting talent at 115,” Namajunas said. “Obviously, Tatiana wants to call me out and everybody still thinks that I’m still the same fighter that fought Carla, so that makes an interesting case for me to have something out there where I can not only prove to myself but prove to the rest of the world that I’m truly different and matured and a complete fighter and not the same as I was when I was 22.”

With this two-woman murderers’ row breathing down the champion’s neck, as someone who is still a relatively new champion, those names could generate a lot of pressure for anyone. But Rose expresses that she feels prepared to confront anyone or anything that comes her way:

“(Pressure) is a thing I’ve seen a lot of fighters have trouble with,” Namajunas said. “So I try not to get moved too much by the highs and the lows, because the lows will come, no matter what. So it’s best to treat every moment as it is and accept it for what it is and not make it more or less than that. Enjoy the ride.”

Do you believe Rose Namajunas will retain the strawweight championship in her next defense?