Rose Namajunas contemplated retirement after loss to Carla Esparza: “Don’t really want to hurt anybody”

By Josh Evanoff - July 31, 2023

Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas nearly retired last year.

Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza at UFC 274

‘Thug Rose’ has been out of action since her rematch with Carla Esparza last May at UFC 274. The bout took place eight years after their previous contest at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 20. That night in 2014, ‘Cookie Monster’ dominated Rose Namajunas, winning vacant strawweight gold by submission.

However, their clash eight years later couldn’t have been any more different. The fight, which has been criticized as the worst in UFC history, saw Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza do very little for 25 minutes. To her credit, the latter secured a couple of brief takedowns, which was enough to win by split decision.

Well over a year after that defeat, Rose Namajunas is set to return opposite Manon Fiorot in September. The two will clash at UFC Paris, in what will be the former champion’s debut at 125 pounds. Discussing her return on The MMA Hour alongside Ariel Helwani, she admitted it nearly didn’t happen.

During the interview, Rose Namajunas admitted she didn’t really want to hurt Carla Esparza at UFC 274 last May. Furthermore, it took a while for her to want to return to the cage and get rid of thoughts of retirement. However, it was her faith that drove her back to fighting.


Rose Namajunas

Image Credit: @UFC/Twitter

“Yeah, I definitely thought I was done for a good amount of time,” Rose Namajunas admitted, reflecting on her loss to Carla Esparza. “There were a number of things, but the way I felt going into the locker room. I just didn’t feel aggressive and I don’t really want to hurt anybody. I was just like ‘Oh, I guess I’m done’. There was definitely a bunch of other factors that went into it.”

She continued, “… I think it was a spiritual thing that I just kind of questioned if I wanted to keep going. It wasn’t really part of a Godly life. But then I came back around to like, no this is definitely what God is calling me to do. He kind of has special gifts for everybody, and some people are warriors and some people are preachers, you know. I’ve been gifted with the warrior spirit and something special.”

“I know I don’t have a ton of time left, but I know he’s not finished with me in this chapter.”

What do you make of these comments about retirement? Are you excited about Rose Namajunas’ return?

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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