Rose Namajunas



Loses title in all-time snoozer
May 7, 2022
Namajunas lost her UFC Women's Strawweight Championship on Saturday, falling to Carla Esparza via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 47-48) at UFC 274 in Phoenix.
This one is firmly in the running for the worst title fight in company history. It's impossible to believe two fighters could accomplish so little over the course of 25 minutes, but Namajunas and Esparza put that theory to the test here. Neither woman did anything for three rounds. Rose gave up a couple takedowns in Round 4, before landing one of her own and one big punch in Round 5. Other than that, flip a coin regarding who deserved to win. Rose's corner was shockingly happy with how the fight was going, which is baffling because everyone watching realized it would be an impossible result to predict. Namajunas has plenty of excellent wins on her resume and is widely regarded as one of the best female fighters in the history of the sport, but her stock took a major hit today, and deservedly so. And it's not because of the judges' decision.
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Title defense set for UFC 274
March 16, 2022
Namajunas will face Carla Esparza in the co-main event of UFC 274 on May 7, Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated reports.
Namajunas and Esparza will join lightweights Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje atop the UFC 274 pay-per-view card scheduled for May 7 in Phoenix. Namajunas last defeated Zhang Weili in November to secure her first title defense since regaining the strawweight belt in April of 2021, while Esparza comes into the matchup having won five consecutive fights. Considering Esparza hasn't fought since May of 2021, however, the odds are likely to favor the champ leading up to May 7.
To face Esparza in 2022
December 20, 2021
Namajunas will defend her strawweight title against Carla Esparza at a yet-to-be-determined date in 2022, Damon Martin of reports.
This comes directly from UFC President Dana White, though it's what most fight fans have expected all along for Namajunas, and even something Namajunas has acknowledged herself. Rose earned back her belt in a April 2021 matchup against Zhang Weili and granted her an immediate rematch in November, narrowly hanging onto her belt via split decision. Meanwhile, Esparza has won five fights in a row, including a second-round finish against a highly-regarded fighter in Yan Xiaonan. When this finally does happen, it will represent a rematch from a December 2014 fight that Esparza won via third-round submission. That result can essentially be tossed out the window when analyzing the upcoming matchup, as Namajunas has participated in five title fights since then, winning the belt twice. She's built valuable experience and made significant improvements to her stand-up game, so it's likely she enters as the betting favorite.
Barely hangs on to UFC title
November 6, 2021
Namajunas barely hung on to her UFC Women's Strawweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Zhang Weili via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) at UFC 268 in New York City.
Boy, this was a close one. Toss the ridiculous 49-46 scorecard out the window. Both women had a legitimate claim to this fight. One plus in Rose's favor was that she finished the fight strong. On the flip side, she didn't start all that well. She absorbed way too many leg kicks in the early going, and that appeared to limit her mobility. To Rose's credit, she appeared to shake the issue and get stronger as the fight progressed. Namajunas showed her much improved stand-up, hanging with Zhang on the feet in the striking exchanges between the two, but she did allow her opponent to land five successful takedown attempts. Yet, Rose often emerged in better position after the two women went to the mat. All three judges scored Rounds 4 and 5 for Rose, along with Round 1 for Zhang. It was by no means pretty and by no means was it a clear-cut victory, but Namajunas left Madison Square Garden with her title, and that's all that matters. Rose's cardio is exceptional, she is remarkably well-rounded and has improved vastly as a striker in recent years.
Immediate rematch with Weili
August 28, 2021
Namajunas will defend her UFC Women's Strawweight title versus Zhang Weili at UFC 268, per
Namajunas reclaimed the strawweight title with a KO (strikes) win over Weili back in April, but the two will go for an immediate rematch. Namajunas became the first woman to reclaim a strawweight championship in that bout, but now she'll once again have to defend it.
Regains UFC gold
April 24, 2021
Namajunas again became the UFC Women's Strawweight Champion on Saturday after defeating Zhang Weili via KO (strikes) at 1:18 of Round 1 at UFC 261 in Jacksonville.
Namajunas becomes the first woman in UFC history to recapture a championship. Others such as Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk all failed in their attempts. Not only did Rose win, but this was by far her most impressive victory to date. Namajunas came up as a pure submission specialist. Through hard work and under the tutelage of her fiance (former UFC fighter and pro kickboxer) Pat Barry, Rose has become an above-average striker. The kick that led to the finish on Saturday nearly took Zhang's head off. It was perfectly placed and not telegraphed in the least. Looking back on it, it seems ridiculous that Rose entered as a +185 underdog. She's a complete fighter with a unique, calming personality. Inside the cage, Namajunas clearly possesses the all-around skill set to hold on to this title for an extended period of time. This was an extraordinary effort that will also earn her a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.