Paige VanZant has been a mystery for every woman MMA fighter in the UFC.
The blonde strawweight has managed to win every single fight since she joined the industry back in October 2014. VanZant has either dominated or even finished all three bouts that she faced, which naturally drew huge attention. Some even said that the hype she has been receiving is as huge as the what the division champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, is getting. However, VanZant’s contender, Rose Namajunas, says she’s been able to see past the hype and acclamations that VanZant’s been getting because she been in the same position in before. With that, the only thing that she sees are the holes VanZant has in terms of strategy and skill.
In a recent interview last Tuesday, Namajunas said that VanZant has to be very careful because hasn’t nailed a perfect fighting strategy yet.
“She makes a lot of mistakes in her fight, and just girls haven’t been able to capitalize on it yet. I mean, she has such heart and tenacity that she’s able to kind of make up for it in a sense, and she also uses her mistakes to her advantage because some people overly jump on things, or try and jump on her back and try to choke her out too fast, and she gets back on top. She likes those scrambles. But for me, I’m really good in the scrambles. It takes me less than a second to see something and grab onto it, so she’s got to be very careful,” Namajunas said.
Namajunas has spoken those words like it was written in the stars probably because she has been in the same spot last year: a newbie who is getting an all-out support from the promotion. In her case, Namajunas was on her way to be the next star of the MMA division following her impressive participation on The Ultimate Fighter 20. Unfortunately, she faced a devastating loss to opponent Carla Esparza in a title that would’ve put her led her to stardom.
As expected, the days after her loss were one of the lowest points in her career. However, Namajunas admitted that even though she had to face such heartache, this unfortunate event forced her to become stronger and be the mature fighter that she is today. When asked if she go back and reverse the situation, Namajunas said that she wouldn’t change anything. Aside from this, she revealed that she doesn’t allow herself to get trapped in the ‘what ifs’ that can greatly affect the mindset of a fighter. This new mindset probably manifested greatly on her decision to cut off her beautiful hair.
Namajunas and ex-UFC heavyweight Pat Barry, which also happens to be Namajunas’ fiance, actually find it amusing that her choice cut off her hair became a big story leading up to the fight against VanZant. However, Namajunas clarified that cutting off her hair has more significance than getting a simple haircut.
“I could probably write a book on it. But (it’s) just years and years of playing in sports, not just fighting, and always being a tomboy growing up and not really wanting to have to do my hair. I don’t even know how to do it. I don’t know, I’ve just got to put a whole bunch of product in and just, I want to just be able to wake up in the morning and feel pretty. Not have to do a whole bunch of crap. It’s definitely just like shedding the past,” Namajunas said.
She also said that the one thing that sets her apart from other fighters is her ever-revolving MMA style.
“I wake up every morning trying to be a new, better person and version of myself. I never try and be the same thing. So that’s what’s going to be hard for girls to keep up with me, because I’m always ever-evolving my style. I’m always trying to improve and you can’t ever expect anything from me. You can always just expect me to be dangerous,” she added.