Rose Namajunas is truly one of a kind.
The UFC strawweight champion is no stranger to overcoming challenges. In fact, those challenges and the fears that they present, are what push her to succeed.
Challenges such as Michelle Waterson and fighting Joanna Jedrzejczyk not once, but twice.
“Fear excites me. Fear drives me,” Namajunas said. “I always said I would never fight outside the country but I also said I would never fight on The Ultimate Fighter but look what happened. I’m just really excited and grateful for the opportunity to really get in front of the Brazilian fans.”
It has been just over two years since “Thug” Rose started her stellar run to UFC glory. In that time she’s bloomed into a full-blown star due to what she brings both inside and outside of the Octagon. And at just 26 years old, her future is very bright.
Both of Namajunas’ title fights against Jedrzejczyk took place in New York, so taking on a Brazilian in Brazil will add a new type of pressure to her title tilt. That pressure doesn’t worry Namajunas one bit, rather it gives her a deeper level of motivation.
“I know that they are a really intense crowd as far as everything that I’m hearing,” Namajunas said. “I’m really excited to feel that energy, take it all in, perform and do what I do best.”
Across the Octagon from her on Saturday night will be Andrade, who fought and lost to Jedrzejczyk in 2017. Since then “Bate Estaca” has reeled off wins over Claudia Gadelha, Tecia Torres and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Her win over Kowalkiewicz was particularly special, as she starched the strawweight stalwart by knockout.
That type of power isn’t often seen at 115lbs and it’s that dynamic skill set that makes Namajunas excited about this match-up.
“She’s really unique and that really excites me,” Namajunas said. “I haven’t really fought anyone like her. You can’t really even find any girls that are quite like her anywhere. So it’s a huge challenge.”
Namajunas isn’t focused with where the fight will go, as she feels that she has the overall advantage no matter if it is on the feet or on the canvas. The one thing that has Namajunas’ focus is utilizing the best areas of her skill set against Andrade’s weak points.
“This fight is going to come down to who plays into who’s strengths,” Namajunas said. “And who can shut down their strength and attack their weakness better.”
A win over Andrade would definitely add to Namajunas’ legacy and while that may be important to some, it isn’t to her.
MORE UFC 237: Jessica Andrade: Why I Fight | | Daniel Cormier’s Preview | Rose Namajunas’ Greatest Hits | Inside The Octagon | Anderson Silva Free Fight | Jared Cannonier Free Fight | Jessica Andrade Free Fight | Namajunas Capturing Gold | Training Day – Rose Namajunas | Embedded | Order UFC 237
“I’m really not concerned with legacy and all that stuff in the future,” Namajunas said. “I’m here now in the present and I’m just here to do my thing. You know, punch girls in the face and take their back and choke ‘em out.”
Make sure you order UFC 237 to watch Namajunas do her thing this Saturday on live on Pay Per View.
UFC 237 starts Saturday at 8:15pm/ 5:15pm ETPT with the UFC Fight Pass Early prelims. The ESPN+ prelims begin at 8pm/5pm ET.
The UFC 237 main card will start at 10pm/7pm ETPT and is only available on Pay-Per-View. Order the card here.
Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews