Dana White claimed on a recent interview that former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas isn’t looking for another title shot right now, but her long time partner Pat Barry has been quick to deny that is the case.
“What I’m hearing is Rose does not want a title shot. Rose does not want to fight for the title,” White told BT Sport. “So we’re looking at the rankings and how it plays out, it would play out as Weili vs. Carla Esparza.”
Hours later Barry, who is not only Namajunas’ fiance, but also her coach too, shot down that line of thinking.
“That is absolutely not true. We absolutely want the title fight,” Barry said. “Who would turn down a title fight? We just don’t want to air this out publicly. If there was some confusion they can call us to clear it up.”
To be fair, in the past ‘Thug’ Rose had admitted she wasn’t comfortable being the champion during her brief reign, which saw her win the title and then solidify her standing with back-to-back victories over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2017 and 2018, before then losing to Jessica Andrade by KO.
At the time it appeared that Namajunas was on the verge of retirement, despite still being in her mid-20’s, but after some time out she return to avenge the loss to Andrade, defeating her by split decision back in July.
That leaves her as the No.1 contender and obvious choice to fight the current champion Weili Zhang, while former champion Carla Esparza is ranked No.4 after racking up four wins in a row, including three narrow victories on the scorecards.
Weili vs. Namajunas is the fight fans would most want to see, but it remains to be seen if anything changes in terms of the UFC’s plans now that all the cards are on the table.