Rose Namajunas is not your typical UFC champion.
In a sport where the biggest bark earns the fattest cheque, Namajunas simply wants her martial arts skills to be an example for others.
“Just be a good person,’ Namajunas said after her shock UFC title win.
“I just want to try and use my gift of martial arts to try and make this world a better place and to change the world.”
No one gave Rose Namajunas much of a chance of defeating Joanna Jędrzejczyk for the UFC strawweight title that night.
Jędrzejczyk had stormed through everyone the UFC had put in front of her. Namajunas was set to be another fighter on Jędrzejczyk’s long list of vanquished opponents. A win for Jędrzejczyk would have tied Ronda Rousey’s record for most UFC title defenses in a women’s division.
Thug Rose had other ideas.
In the words of @DC_MMA….
— UFC (@ufc) May 8, 2019
Despite the odds, Namajunas earned a TKO victory in the first round. She then went on to prove it was no fluke, cruising her way to a unanimous decision in the rematch.
Over a year later, Namajunas finds herself in the familiar position of underdog in the unfamiliar location of Brazil.
Taking on Brazilian challenger Jessica Andrade in her home country, Namajunas says she might be being underestimated again but says it counts for little.
“I think some people are (underestimating me) and I think some people just might not know enough about the sport,” Namajunas told Fight News Australia.
“Some people believe in that aggressive forward style that she has and look at me and size me up and think I can’t take it or whatever. But that’s their opinions and there’s more to it than that.”
To the uninitiated, one would be forgiven for sizing up Namajunas and picking Andrade. Built like a tank, Andrade has biceps any bodybuilder would be jealous of. In her last outing, she knocked her opponent out cold with one punch, a rarity in the UFC’s lightest weight class.
“Yeah she’s physically strong but I’m physically strong too,” Namajunas continued.
“I think I am a more dynamic and complete fighter. I have options.
“I don’t just have one way that I have to fight. I fight smart and I am very composed in there. Once I’m in control of myself, it’s going to be very hard for anyone to beat me.”
My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook. I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.