Rose Namajunas pulled off the biggest upset of 2017 and then went back to living her life. She walked in her home, put up her new UFC strawweight title, and admired a tomato she grew. Flashing back to the tense build-up to her fight with Joanna, it was a startling juxtaposition of how two very different warriors deal with their own personal pre-fight process. A fist in her face, she recited the Lord’s Prayer and refrained from escalating or even insulting the former champion. It’s something that she came back to comment on yesterday, stating that it doesn’t make sense for her to finally achieve everything she wanted to become an asshole.
“Me saying that this belt don’t mean nothing, it’s not really that it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just it doesn’t mean as much if you’re just an asshole, you know what I mean? Me being the best in the world, it doesn’t mean that much to me if I’m not a good person at the end of the day, if I’m not setting a good example for other people to be better to each other. What’s the point of being the best in the world if you scratch and claw your way to the top and you push everybody down instead of lifting everybody else up with you? I think we’ve been sitting around trying to figure out what’s different [now that I’m champion] and I think that’s what’s different. There’s not really much that has changed.”
What. A. Year.
Here’s 2017, in a nutshell. Thanks for following along this year, fight fans! Bring on 2018! pic.twitter.com/gdBLxK0GJ1
— UFC (@ufc) December 31, 2017
“We’ve gotten some opportunities that have come by us, but not nothing really that is not what I kind of envisioned, it would be like all kinds of crazy and stuff. There were times where I didn’t know for sure this is how it’s going to happen, but I had a strong feeling that it would. Even though there was a lot of challenges that I had to get over, the stars seemed to align for me, certain blessings and people that were brought into my life. […] Valentina Shevchenko and her team coming into town was a huge help for me and just getting to know them was awesome. Just little things like that proved that this is where I’m supposed to be and it’s just kind of my destiny I felt.” — Rose Namajunas speaking to The MMA Hour.
One of the results of Rose Namajunas’ philosophy seems to have been her partnership with Valentina Shevchenko. Her attitude helped nurture a relationship that without a doubt added to her skill set. While she has only been carrying gold around her waist since November 4th, she hasn’t changed yet and doesn’t seem intent on ever doing so. All eyes will be on Thug Rose going into this new year, watching to see if she does and to see what new (or old) challenge waits for her.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/3/2018.