The MMA world was just handed the somewhat surprising news that Jessica Andrade will reportedly make her first title defense against Weili Zhang in China. Former champion Rose Namajunas’ team has responded to the news.
‘Thug Rose’ was brutally knocked out by a vicious slam from the newly-crowned Brazilian queen Andrade at last month’s UFC 237. It was thought that Namajunas may earn an immediate rematch due to the fact she was winning in the early going of the main event bout. That apparently won’t be the case, however.
Namajunas’ Timeline For Return
“Rose was definitely interested in the rematch however right now she is taking time to heal up. She had a neck injury before her last fight and now is just going to take the time to take care of herself and get back to 100%. Her plan is to fight sometime by the end of this year. When Rose decides to come back she will come back better than ever.”
Rematch Never A Realistic Option
Okamoto also pointed out that Butler also manages Zhang, curiously enough. Butler revealed Namajunas was never in consideration for the rematch due to the timeline the UFC wanted Andrade to adhere to for her first title defense:
“Note: Butler also manages Zhang. He told me Rose was not in serious consideration for a rematch, given the timeframe UFC wanted Andrade to defend and Rose’s injury”
Namajunas even hinted at retirement in her post-fight speech following the loss to Andrade. She appeared genuinely relieved to not have the burden of being UFC champion on her shoulders any longer. The words were a bit shocking considering she looked perhaps better than ever at UFC 237 until Andrade slammed her on her neck in gruesome fashion. But to see her truly retire and step down from the sport of MMA seemed like a far-off possibility.
Her management seems to have confirmed she will not be retiring. Namajunas simply needs a bit more time to heal up from previous injuries. When she does, a return to the Octagon later this year seems imminent. There’s little doubt she can and will return to her championship form when she does. Her comeback will certainly be an anticipated one for fight fans around the world.
Who do you want to see ‘Thug Rose’ face when she makes her MMA return?