After losing the strawweight title at UFC 274 in May, Rose Namajunas also put herself out of title contention for the time being. Current champion Carla Esparza is likely facing former champion Zhang Weili next, leaving “Thug Rose” doing the waiting game, at least in her division.
But in a recent interview with MMA Fighting, the 30-year-old ex-champion opened the idea of moving up to flyweight and fighting Valentina Shevchenko, whom she considers a friend.
“She is amazing in all ways, and I have felt what she feels like in practice,” Namajunas said of Shevchenko. “I know a fight is a totally different thing, so that would be hard for me to say. Obviously, as a martial artist, that would definitely be very interesting.
“But, yeah, I don’t know yet. It would have to be [very lucrative]. I love Valentina. I consider her to be my friend. I’ve never had a problem with being cordial with people I’m going to fight. I’ve maintained friendships with people that I’ve fought, but I’ve never had an issue with fighting a teammate or anything like that. I have started to think a little bit differently about fighting at this point in my life.
“It would be difficult with the emotions and things like that, and I feel like I’m a different person right now. I would have to think about it.”
Namajunas says she will need more time to think about her next career move. But a potential move up to 125-pounds isn’t something she’s shutting off completely.
“I don’t know, you can do the math,” she said on a possible move to flyweight. “I really don’t know, like I said, just one step at a time. The UFC has given me some offers for things and I just need the time to just not think about fighting at all, and then in the fall I’ll kind of lay out everything to see what makes sense.
“The thing I do know for a fact — and I don’t know when exactly I might fight again — but I do know that I want to do a grappling match of some sort. I want to really rack up some experience in that department.
“Also, once I get my other things in order, my life stuff, I’ll be lifting lots of weights, and maybe put on a little more muscle, and just kind of see what happens from there.”
After UFC 274, Namajunas dropped to a win-loss record of 11-5.