Rose Namajunas spoke in one of her first appearances as a UFC champion and detailed exactly why Joanna Jedrzejczyk shouldn’t receive an immediate rematch.
For all the iconic soundbites that the legendary commentary team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan delivered over the years, it does finally appear as though the new school – and in particular, Daniel Cormier – have well and truly arrived, something that was evidenced during the strawweight title fight on UFC 217’s main card.
‘Thug Rose!’ was the shout that repeatedly emanated from the light-heavyweight champ DC following the fight’s conclusion but really, the atmosphere was electric from the get-go.
The tension was truly palpable and when the champ Joanna Jedrzejcyk arrived into the arena, you really got the sense that her star-power was finally reaching the peaks that the UFC had so clearly pushed her towards.
Not to say that she was undeserving of such a push, however.
Her unbeaten career saw her dispatch every challenger to her title with a degree of class and control that had many already citing her as the greatest female mixed martial artist of all-time but on Saturday, November 4, something happened that well and truly turned the world of MMA on its head.
‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas entered Madison Square Garden that night as a bigger underdog than even the greatly-detiorated Johny Hendricks – who occupied the first spot on the main-card.
Hendricks, as an undersized middleweight who was seemingly served up on a platter to the rising force that is Paulo ‘Borrachinha’ Costa, was incredibly given a greater chance at defeating the unbeaten Brazilian behemoth who stood before him than the highly-touted prospect whose flair for creativity had garnered her some serious buzz in recent times.
It was a strange thing to see, and though Hendricks’ night ended in the second round, his performance maybe wasn’t as bad as many had predicted – with their predicitions usually ending early in the first stanza.
Namajunas, however, managed to pull off the unthinkable.
A first-round KO over one of the most decorated strikers in the sport in a performance that was more of a clinic than a fluke would have earned anyone some serious money from the bookies, yes, but in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Namajunas explained why – despite the freakish nature of her win and the dominance of Joanna before that – her calls for an immediate rematch weren’t exactly bulletproof.
“I don’t think so. I don’t know how that could, I mean, anything’s possible right? But, a first-round knockout? And she tapped due to strikes?
“I know she was stumbling afterwards but there was still some part of her that tapped. Not a fluke.
“I thought about the rest of the division and like who could call me out but I haven’t really thought about who I’d like to fight yet. I’m thinking about decompressing and having a little fun obviously.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena