Rose Namajunas will be about a year removed from her first shot at the UFC’s strawweight title when she steps into the cage to face Paige VanZant at UFC Fight Night 80 on Dec. 10.
A victory for the former title contender would put her right at the front of the line for a second chance, she thinks.
“Especially the way I know I’m going to win, in my heart, I think people are going to be dying to see that fight [with Joanna Jedrzejczyk],” Namajunas said on The MMA Hour Monday.
“After the fight with Paige, I mean, I’ll be watching the Joanna fight, but I think I’m just going to enjoy it from a fight fan’s perspective. I’m not going to be thinking gameplan against this person. No, because I’ve got enough on my plate as it is, so once I’m done with this fight [against VanZant] I can revisit that and watch it again and we’ll come up with a different gameplan.”
VanZant was originally slated to face Joanne Calderwood on that Thursday event, but Calderwood was forced to pull out citing an injury. In stepped Namajunas to create arguably a more exciting, but more difficult fight for the rising UFC star.
Namajunas last fought at UFC 192, facing off against fellow TUF 20 contestant Angela Hill. “Thug” Rose defeated Hill, submitting her via rear-naked choke in under three minutes of the start of the contest. It was her first victory inside the Octagon, falling short in her first try against Carla Esparza on Dec. 12, 2014.
A victory, no matter how impressive, might still not afford Namajunas a second try for the 115-pound title if fellow strawweight wrecking machine Claudia Gadelha has anything to say about it.