Former UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas is on the road back to the title, as she rematches fellow former titleholder Jessica Andrade at UFC 251 on July 11 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. It hasn’t been the easiest road, however, even just in getting to the rematch.
Namajunas initially considered retirement after she lost to belt to Andrade at UFC 237 on May 11, 2019. After taking some extensive time away, she had decided to return and fight Andrade, who lost the belt to Zhang Weili. The two were scheduled to rematch at UFC 249 on May 9 in Jacksonville, Fla., but tragedy struck and Namajunas just wasn’t in the proper headspace to fight in May.
Namajunas lost two family members to COVID-19. Obviously, she needed time to grieve, which she did, and now she is ready to get back into the fight. She’ll do so at Yas Island as part of a stacked UFC 251 main card.
“Sometimes things got to crumble down before you can put it all back together again,” Namajunas said in an interview with ESPN.
“Losing my title and all of that. I just went through a lot of different stages. Everything is temporary; you’ve just got to live in the moment.”
Though she originally had the thought of taking back the win over Andrade, Namajunas has shifted her mindset as the fight draws near.
“To me, it don’t matter. Fight (Andrade), fight Weili, fight Tatiana (Suarez). Obviously I do want to beat Andrade and correct that mistake, but honestly I’ve put that in the past,” she said.
“At one point, I was like, ‘I’m gonna get this, I’m gonna get this back.’ But to me it’s just a fight now.”
(Video courtesy of ESPN MMA)