Over the course of the last few years, Rose Namajunas has had her fair share of ups and downs. In addition to beating Zhang Weili and Joanna Jędrzejczyk twice, she’s also had a series of setbacks including a knockout defeat at the hands of Jessica Andrade.
Now, though, the two-time champ is once again in possession of the strawweight strap, and many can’t see a scenario in which she loses it anytime soon.
Of course, there are plenty within her division who would disagree with that assessment, but the critics haven’t stopped the 29-year-old from becoming one of the most popular fighters in mixed martial arts.
One man who has been watching her run closely is none other than Mike Tyson, who was seen getting emotional alongside Joe Rogan when watching footage of her first win over Weili.
When asked by Megan Olivi about what that meant to her, ‘Thug Rose’ couldn’t help but feel giddy over the heavyweight legend’s kind words.
“That was super cool. It was really surreal, like, wow. Every day I wake up and I’m like this is my life, this is crazy. He’s one of the best, the truest sense of a fighter in life and in fighting. What more could I say?”
The next step
Rose Namajunas will attempt to successfully defend the UFC strawweight championship for the third time this weekend at UFC 274 in Phoenix. She’ll do so against Carla Esparza, the woman who submitted her to become the inaugural champion at 115 pounds back in late 2014.
Esparza is riding a nice five-fight win streak and at the age of 34, there’s a good chance this will be her last opportunity to regain the belt.
As well as the co-main event, we’ll also get the chance to see the UFC lightweight title being defended as Charles Oliveira hopes to prove that he’s still the man to beat at 155.
He’ll have to go through Namajunas’ close friend and training partner Justin Gaethje, who will also have Trevor Wittman in his corner for Saturday’s Arizona homecoming.