Rose Namajunas is ready to challenge Weili Zhang for the UFC strawweight title, according to the pair’s manager Brian Butler.
UFC President Dana White recently claimed that Namajunas, the division’s former champion, isn’t interested in challenging Zhang in a bid to reclaim the title, and that Carla Esparza could get the opportunity in her stead.
Speaking to MMA Junkie recently, Butler assured that, contrary to White’s remarks, Namajunas is ready to fight for the title. That being said, Esparza is also reportedly in consideration to be the champion’s next challenger.
“We’re still in talks with the UFC about Rose, but I can tell you that Rose is ready,” Butler said “Rose has been ready. She’s been ready, she’s been in camp. Rose is ready to fight, honestly, in the next – she can fight on a couple of weeks’ notice. She’s ready to go. So we have to see. It could be Rose, it could be Carla, it could be whoever. We’ll see.”
While White claimed that Namajunas is the one delaying this matchup, Butler actually divulged that there’s some reluctance on Zhang’s side, as the champion was forced to endure quite a bit of chaos before and after her latest trip to the United States.
“Weili has been ready to go for some time now,” Butler said. “The only hesitancy is—her last fight, I don’t know if everybody knows the full details on everything that happened. But for her to even get to that fight was trails and trails just to get there. To avoid the COVID, they flew her to Thailand. Then Thailand started to lock down, so they flew her to Abu Dhabi. She was traveling for the last third of that camp.
“She was flying all around the world just to kind of escape getting locked into a country, and then finally gets to Vegas, puts on the performance that she does, and then she’s stuck in Vegas for several months after the fight because she can’t go home. And then when she finally does get home, she has to basically get locked up again for another month. She has been a little bit paranoid to come back Stateside right now until things have calmed down.”
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