What’s Next For ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas?

Photo Courtesy of Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas made her return to the UFC octagon where she successfully defended her title against Weili Zhang. This was a great fight where Namajunas showed her abilities both on the feet and on the ground. Putting on a clinic for her first title defense this go around. But this brought many to question what is next for Namajunas? She has beaten most of the big names in her division and has faced and beaten all of the divisions’ former champions besides Carla Esparza.

Namajunas made her way to the UFC in 2014 when she fought for a title on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter. She was ranked 7th on the show and would earn her spot to the final fight of the season where she faced Carla Esparza. Namajunas has gone on to have an excellent career in the UFC where she’s had two stints as champion.

Namajunas really has two options I think most fans would love to see. The first one I think that makes sense is another rematch with former Strawweight Champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Rose has beaten Jędrzejczyk twice already but Jędrzejczyk is one of the best Strawweights of all time. I think it’d be great to see a third fight.  Jędrzejczyk has been removed from the rankings at the current moment, but said she was waiting to face the winner of the Strawweight Championship at UFC 268. Namajunas won so I think they could definitely make this fight.

The other option for Namajunas in my opinion would be a rematch against Carla Esparza. Esparza is coming off a victory to Yan Xiaonan at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt in May of 2021. Esparza is on a five fight win streak and is often talked about as one of the best Strawweights of all time. Esparza Won the inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship and also Won The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 in 2014.   Esparza lost the title to Jędrzejczyk in her next fight. This would be a great match between a current champion and a former champion. I think the fans would love to see it too. 

Dana White and the UFC matchmakers do a great job making fights. I think Namajunas with the excellent coaching of Trevor Wittman will definitely have a way longer reign than her first time as champion. She’s a truly inspirational fighter who believes they are the best then puts on dominant performances that prove she’s the best.  We will have to wait and see what is next!

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FIGHTER PROFILE: CLAUDIA GADELHA

Claudia Gadelha after her victory against Randa Markos Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since The UFC introduced women’s MMA to the UFC Octagon in 2013 we’ve seen some amazing athletes take part of MMA’s biggest stage. One of the most exciting females to show their skills in the Octagon is Brazil’s Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha currently competes in the strawweight division where she is ranked number eight in the division.

 Gadelha was born on December 7, 1988 in Mossoró, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Gadelha had a tough time as a teenager where she got involved with drugs and people who were involved in other nefarious activities. This led her parents to move to Natal where she could escape these bad influences and continue her education and finish high school.

After the family’s move to Natal this changed everything for Gadelha who was introduced to the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Unfortunately Gadelha’s parents did not support her pursuit of martial arts glory. But Gadelha stood strong and believed in her ability to compete in martial arts. Gadelha eventually went on to an MMA event, it was at this event whereGadelha found her inspiration for competing in MMA when she saw a female fight MMA. From this point on Gadelha was dead set on Fighting.

Gadelha made her pro MMA debut against Elaine Leite on June 5, 2008 for the Force Fighting Championship promotion in Aparecida, Brazil. Gadelha won by Submission (armbar) in 17 seconds, an impressive debut. Gadelha would win 11 straight wins, which would earn her spot on the UFC roster. On July 16, 2014 Gadelha made her UFC debut against Tina Lähdemäki where she’d win by unanimous decision.

The UFC announced in 2016 that Gadelha would be a coach on Season 23 of the Ultimate fighter. She showed her fighting IQ as a coach, almost sweeping the competition.  Gadelha faced off against fellow coach and Strawweight division champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk during the finale of the show for the UFC Strawweight Championship. Jędrzejczyk would emerge victorious.

Gadelha has not fought since her loss against Yan Xiaonan on November 7, 2020. It is not known when Gadelha will fight again. Gadelha is currently ranked eighth in the UFC Strawweight division.

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