Not much has been seen of Rose Namajunas since she lost her strawweight title in a fight with Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 early this year, with the suggestion being that retirement might be an option, even though she’s still only 27-years-old.
However, seven months later, ‘Thug’ Rose appears to have rediscovered her desire to compete and has ruled out the idea of retiring for now.
“I’ll fight again,” Namajunas told ESPN. “And you know it’s kind of one of those things where you get a little emotional. But it’s like I lost the passion for martial arts and fighting – mainly for fighting. I found my passion again.
“I went back to Minnesota to see one of my former coaches from earlier on in my amateur career, Greg Nelson. He’s just like a huge inspiration for me.”
Namajunas went on to reveal that she found that becoming a UFC champion was something of a poisoned chalice for her.
“I made it into everything I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want the belt to define me and all I did was make it define me. That was all that was on my mind every day. Even though it was not even in my own house. It just consumed my every thought. It turned into a shackle and chain rather than just loving fighting.
“Do I want to be the best? Of course. But I don’t need a belt to tell me that I’m the best. I already know. It was like, weird. It was all of my fears and all of the things I didn’t want to happen ended up happening by just fearing it so much.”
As for what comes next for her, Namajunas admits she’s keeping an eye on current champion Weili Zhang as a potential opponent, though it appears that she’s just happy to fight whoever the UFC believes would be best.
“Weili looked great and I always want to fight the best. Clearly, she is (the best) right now. But you know? I want to test myself against her. But at the same time, whether that be this next fight or get a win under my belt and go after that? I really have no preference at the moment. It doesn’t matter who I fight, but you should always have your eye on being the best.”
And when it comes to how much longer Namajunas wants to compete, the sense is that she has at least a few years left before she hangs up her gloves for good.
“I definitely have always said I don’t really want to fight in my 30’s, so I have three more years on my clock. But at the same time, I’m not going to say that for sure. But I’d say I’ll have three more years where I’m interested in this.”