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I ‘got what I needed’ - Rose Namajunas ‘at peace’ with Carla Esparza rematch

Fans may not have enjoyed it, but the former strawweight champion has accepted the result of her rematch with Carla Esparza. 

Rose Namajunas at UFC 274.
Rose Namajunas at UFC 274.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rose Namajunas is at peace after losing the UFC strawweight championship to Carla Esparza at UFC 274 this past May.

For the second time in her professional career, ‘Thug’ Rose fell short against the ‘Cookie Monster’. This time, losing a split decision in what was considered one of the worst fights of the year. A five round title fight that (generously) saw a total of 67 strikes landed by both women over the duration.

Though adamant she should have won because she ‘stuck with the strategy,’ Namajunas has admitted that she could have done ‘a little bit more’ in the bout overall. However, the former champion told Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie recently that she has stopped dwelling on the past and shifted her focus towards the future.

“I definitely got what I needed out of that fight,” said Namajunas. “I know that for the fans, it was terrible. I definitely pride myself on being a very exciting fighter and I’ve always had exciting fights. But I realized that being a mixed martial artist, I am an artist and you don’t always have Mona Lisas, right? Sometimes you just have splotches and abstract art pieces. So, as much as it might’ve sucked for the fans, for myself, I got the bare minimum I needed out of whatever personal things that I was looking for, but yeah. I would have liked to obviously won and win in devastating, dominant fashion.

“Going forward, I feel pretty at peace with it,” continued Namajunas. “I mean, definitely being a martial artist and a competitor, that definitely has a little fire inside. I can still be a little salty sometimes when I think about it, but I’ve been through this before. I’ve been here and I know that’s just what I needed. So, I’m fully grateful for everything.”

Several months after her loss, Namajunas has focused on other ventures, including a soon-to-be-released documentary (Thug Rose: Mixed Martial Artist) and an ad campaign for Victoria’s Secret.

A return to the Octagon has yet to be announced, but Namajunas is aiming for some time in 2023.