While Namajunas entered 2022 with gold in her possession following back-to-back victories over Zhang Weili last year, the first of which saw her stop “Magnum” with a first-round head kick, she now finds herself relinquished of championship status following a performance that had everyone talking for all the wrong reasons.
At UFC 274 in May, Namajunas ran it back with previous opponent Carla Esparza. While many expected “Thug Rose” to avenge her 2014 loss to “Cookie Monster,” she ultimately fell on the wrong side of a split decision in what was widely regarded as one of the most lackluster UFC title fights of all time.
Having gone somewhat radio silent with regards to MMA in recent months, focusing on other ventures and hobbies instead, Namajunas recently gave fans some insight into her mindset as fall approaches.
And though she’s got a combat sports match in mind, her immediate priority lies away from the Octagon.
Namajunas Targets Submission Grappling Match
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck, Namajunas assessed her options moving forward as she looks ahead to a step-up in training intensity in the coming weeks and months.
Whilst fans will be eager to know about a possible UFC return date, Namajunas admitted that she’s pushed offers from the promotion away for the time being. Instead, the 30-year-old Wisconsin native is looking to hit the mats.
“The thing that I do know for a fact — I don’t know when exactly I might fight again — I do know that I wanna do a grappling match of some sort,” Namajunas said. “I wanna really rack up some experience in that department… I’m really interested in grappling in the near future.
“Whoever is out there that I can challenge — and I wanna get good at foot locks, ’cause obviously in the grappling world, that’s become huge and stuff. It’s sort of come full circle again to where people now know how to defend them. So now it’s more of a complete game,” Namajunas added. “I want to dive deep into the grappling world, and then from there, work my way back in.”
Namajunas was originally set to face rising Brazilian jiu-jitsu star Danielle Kelly, who has since signed with ONE Championship, at FURY Grappling 3 late last year. After being forced out through COVID-19, Esparza filled in to face Kelly.
Despite that matchup falling through, Namajunas is clearly as keen as ever to improve her submission skills, and will no doubt be searching for an opponent soon.
Who would you like to see Rose Namajunas face in a submission grappling match?