Rose Namajunas shocked many the world when she emphatically knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 in November. As amazing as her performance was, she might have earned even more praise for her post-fight comments, where she remained remarkably humble and emphasized that she just wanted to be a good person and help to raise awareness for mental illness.
A couple of months have passed since then, and as a guest on The MMA Hour recently, Namajunas reiterated her stance on why being a good role model is more important than being a champion (via MMA Fighting):
“Me saying that this belt don’t mean nothing, it’s not really that it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just it doesn’t mean as much if you’re just an a—hole, you know what I mean?” Namajunas said. “Me being the best in the world, it doesn’t mean that much to me if I’m not a good person at the end of the day, if I’m not setting a good example for other people to be better to each other.“
What’s the point of being the best in the world if you scratch and claw your way to the top and you push everybody down instead of lifting everybody else up with you?”
Namajunas wants to set a good example partially because of her troubled childhood, which Jedrzejczyk tried to play on in the lead-up to their bout. Joanna questioned her mental toughness, and Rose obviously passed that test. She believed in herself, and she is happy that the journey led to other positive things happening in her life around that time:
“There were times where I didn’t know for sure this is how it’s going to happen, but I had a strong feeling that it would,” Namajunas said. “Even though there was a lot of challenges that I had to get over, the stars seemed to align for me, certain blessings and people that were brought into my life.
“One, just for example that popped into my head, Valentina Shevchenko and her team coming into town was a huge help for me and just getting to know them was awesome. Just little things like that proved that this is where I’m supposed to be and it’s just kind of my destiny I felt.”