UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas came in as a huge betting underdog against the undefeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but that didn’t stop her winning via a thrilling first round knockout. The victory comes after a week where Namajunas had been consistently poked — literally and figuratively — by her Polish opponent.
At the UFC 217 press conference the new champion said, “It’s been a rough week, up until the fight started. It seemed like everything was trying to distract me and be thrown in my face. But through everything I kept listening to my coaches and just trusting them, trusting myself and I got the job done.”
Namajunas said Jedrzejczyk’s trash talk was only part of the problem. Adding to her stress was a delayed flight, difficulty sleeping and the persistent sirens she heard around the streets of New York City. Namajunas also cited the wrong song being played for her walkout as another stress-inducer.
“Just everything [had me] thinking this is not my moment, you know? But, I just didn't pay attention to that, I didn't let it stop me,” she said before explaining the reason why she was able to come through such adversity in the most important moment in her athletic career.
“The one thing that kept me calm is that I've been in situations like this, where I felt like things weren't running smooth and I've learned from those. So I just kept telling myself to stay calm and not pay attention to these outside things that I can't control. All I can control is myself and just keep having a positive attitude.”
Namajunas stated she planned to take some time off before doubling down on comments she made inside the Octagon; about hoping her victory could in some way improve the negativity she perceives around the sport of MMA and beyond.
“There's been a lot of trash talking and things like that and people that aren't being true to themselves or being honest,” explained Namajunas. “I don't know, maybe that's just what they feel they need to do, but I'm just sick of it. I'm sick of all the hate and anger and stuff like that going on. I feel like we have a duty as fighters to be a better example. Martial arts is about honor and respect.
“It takes a lot of courage in that cage no matter who you are. I just want to try and send an example in that way and the rest of the world, too. There's a lot of negativity out there. Everywhere you look it's just negative. I'm trying to just be that positive light as much as possible. I'm not perfect either, but maybe we'll figure out a way to make this world a better place.”