Rose Namajunas has been absent from the Octagon following her UFC 201 split decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz back at UFC 201 in July. The loss snapped a 3-fight win streak for Namajunas which saw her defeat Angela Hill, Paige VanZant, and Tecia Torres following her TUF 20 Finale loss to Carla Esparza in 2014.
Following her loss to Kowalkiewicz, Namajunas headed to Indonesia where she spent quite a bit of time breaking the cycle of daily life in Denver, Colorado. During a brief return to Colorado this week, Namajunas spoke on The MMA Hour to discuss her training with top ranked women’s bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko, her next potential fight, and her growth as a fighter, saying:
“I’m so much more opportunistic [now],” she said during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “Instead of just being like, I don’t feel like it today…I’m just more motivated to make the best out of every opportunity. For example, Valentina Shevchenko, Valentina’s here training for her fight [at the Grudge Training Center]. She’s really hard to train with.
“Everyday I’m just like, nope, I can’t be the first one to not show up. Anytime they ask me to come, I have to make sure to show up because I’m the only girl from MMA experience. Whereas there’s been moments where I’ve been like, oh, I feel sick today or I feel a little bit run down or something like that, I can just take off today. Normally that’s what I would have done. You know, listen to your body, time off or whatever. I’m like screw that, because when am I going to run into a girl like her that comes to my gym. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
In regards to her next fight, Namajunas is eyeing a fight with Michelle Waterson, who is fresh off a submission victory over Paige VanZant in the main event of ‘UFC Sacramento’.
“I think it kind of makes the most sense,” she said. “Every time there’s a strawweight fight, I always get messages, ‘oh you should fight Rose,’ or, ‘Rose should fight them,’ and it’s just like, it’s cool and everything. But there was a noticeable difference, the amount of people recommending I fight somebody, and then [the amount saying I should fight] Michelle. It was a crazy amount of response.
“So, that just makes the most sense. It would be the most exciting I think. She’s coming off of a hot win, and it’s just, she won in really fast fashion and she looks great and she’s marketable. I’m marketable. It makes sense. I’d love to fight anybody, really, at this point. I was hoping maybe I’d call her out and there’d be some type of backlash or some type of noise created out of it, but it’s just more of the fans going, yeah, that’s a good idea. So it’s kind of like, either way.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on January 10th, 2017.