Almost a year ago today, Rose Namajunas was in the exact position where Paige VanZant was in- sitting and grieving on a terrible MMA loss that just took place. Back then, Namajunas also had difficult time to embrace what happened and let the loss against Carla Esparza to sink in .
“I feel like the position that she’s in right now is like what I was in a year ago. It’s similar. I shouldn’t say (it’s the same). Nobody is the same. But I can feel for her, and she showed a lot of heart in this fight. So I know she’s going to come back real strong,” Namajunas said during a recent interview last Thursday.
Namajunas evidently dominated VanZant during the UFC Fight Night 80 strawweight MMA main card bout. It was clear that she was all over VanZant since the beginning; Namajunas outclassed VanZant in several occasions, and even attempted on several submissions, before finally ending the fight with a rear-naked choke during the fifth round.
During the post-event interview, VanZant admitted that she felt “outclassed” during the entire fight. Even though this is the case, everyone saw how persevering she was during the entire fight. The 21-year-old surpassed each bad situation she got into, including two attempts of armbar, and grabbed every opportunity to get back on her feet.
“A couple times I was a little frustrated. But I kept hearing my corner just reaffirming my thoughts. Just let the finish come. Don’t force it. When I force things, it just doesn’t go well. But I also knew beforehand that she was going to be flexible. I knew that there were going to be submissions there, but they might not be finished right away. So just everything I knew beforehand going into it after studying her and knowing what I’m good at and what she’s good at, it just all came together,” Namajunas revealed.
At 23 years old and currently ranked No. 3, MMA strawweight fighter Namajunas admitted that she is no rush to do the necessary fights in order to advance her career.
“There’s a lot to think about right now. I definitely feel that I’ll be ready for the title shot versus whoever is going to have it, but I also want to get a little vacation time in and just sit back and enjoy the holidays. If there is an opponent for me before that, like one more and then the title, or just the title right away — it just depends on how things line up. I don’t really want to necessarily jump on it too fast. There were some things that I felt like I could have improved in the fight. I could have been more comfortable in certain spots. It was definitely a great performance, but I feel like I can always improve, so like I said, I don’t want to be overly excited or anything like that,” she added.