Is Rose Namajunas Ready To Fight Zhang Weili?
With a clear mindset, Rose Namajunas was able to avenge a loss she suffered last May. Now, she is hoping her patience and a newfound respect for MMA will result in an epic title fight.
At UFC 251, Namajuans (10-4) beat Jessica Andrade via split decision. She was calmer compared to her previous fight against Andrade at UFC 237, where one mistake ended up costing her. If a trilogy fight with Andrade is not on the table, Namajunas told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that she and her team are focused on fighting UFC Strawweight Champion Zhang Weili.
“We started game-planning for Weili in the hospital in Abu Dhabi,” Pat Berry, Namajunas’ fiance, stated, via MMA Junkie. “She’s been training, she’s never taken a day off, never. She’s training right now. She watched (Namajunas’ last) fight.”
With the win, Namajunas is now 4-1 in her last five fights. The former UFC Strawweight Champion beat Joanna Jedrzejzyk twice, once for the title at UFC 217. Ranked number one in the UFC’s strawweight rankings, “Thug Rose” was interested in facing Zhang, after she heals from injuries suffered from her last fight of course.
“I mean, I would think so,” Namajunas stated when talking about facing Zhang next. “We haven’t really talked about it yet, but that’s definitely the plan,” Namajunas said. “… That was kind of the plan going into it. I just have to get this nose fixed first. I don’t know what the recovery time is or whatever.”
Zhang (21-1) turned professional in 2012. She joined the UFC in 2018 and is 5-0 with the promotion. She beat Andrade for the UFC Strawweight Title and beat Joanna back in March to defend the title. At UFC 248, the two engaged in a bloody and technical war, competing in a Fight of the Year contender. Zhang would win via split decision.
It is not just Namajuans that want’s to fight Zhang. The champion has expressed a desire to face Namajunas, stating:
“… she is the highest-level and most-skilled martial artist outside of myself in the division.”
Namajunas has had a tough year. After getting slammed on her neck by Andrade, she lost family members to COVID-19. Now in a positive mindset when it comes to MMA, Namajunas is ready for the ultimate challenge in Zhang.
“Ever since I saw her fight Tecia (Torres), I’ve been scouting her out a little bit,” Namajunas stated. “I just think it’s gonna be a beautiful display of martial arts. She’s a master; I’m a master. It’s gonna be really cool… I would love to fight her. She’s awesome. She’s really technical, really strong, just overall a master. That’s something that really interests me a lot.”