Women’s Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas is one of the UFC’s hottest commodities. After back-to-back wins over one of the promotion’s most dominant female champions in Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Namajunas finally gets the opportunity to turn her attention to the rest of the strawweight division.
Her first task is a dangerous matchup with Brazil’s Jessica Andrade at UFC 237. (You can order the UFC 237 PPV here through ESPN+.) After dropping down in weight, Andrade, who is already known for her brutalizing strength, has an even bigger advantage over strawweight fighters. Despite standing only 5’2″, Andrade’s strength and power alone make her an incredibly dangerous test for any UFC fighter.
Possessing one of the most well-rounded games in the sport, Namajunas is quick and powerful on her feet along with having an incredibly smooth ground game. While other fighters may do specific things better, few fighters have the complete package that Namajunas owns. A true mixed martial artist, Namajunas is almost always good for an incredibly exciting fight.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Who Is Rose Namajunas Dating?
Rose Namajunas is engaged to former UFC Heavyweight Pat Barry. Barry was a longtime UFC veteran who debuted all the way back at UFC 92 in 2008. During his time in the UFC, Barry faced off against some of the best heavyweight fighters in the history of the sport – including former heavyweight legend Mirko Cro Cop.
Barry was one of the best UFC heavyweight prospects in his heyday, though he, unfortunately, was never able to break through into the sport’s upper echelon. He was given shots against Cro Cop, Cheik Kongo, and Stephen Struve, but was unable to pick up a win against any of the three and eventually called it quits after yet another loss in 2013.
Known for his devastating kicks and tendency to throw technique to the wind and brawl with opponents, Barry was one of the UFC’s most exciting heavyweight fighters. While never reaching his fullest potential, Barry was a fighter Dana White and the UFC could feel incredibly comfortable plugging into any card for a fight that would almost certainly end in a knockout.
2. What Is Rose Namajunas’ Career Record?
Rose Namajunas has a career professional record of 8-3. Namajunas hasn’t fought a shortage of talent since entering the UFC and has fought a big name fighter in each and every one of her outings in the octagon. After working her way through The Ultimate Fighter, Namajunas caught her first break on TUF’s finale card facing off against Carla Esparza for the brand new strawweight belt. While she would go on to lose the matchup, she would only drop one other fight on her path to the belt.
After rattling off three straight wins over Angela Hill, Paige Van Sant, and Tecia Torres, Namajunas once again found herself on the doorstep of another title shot. However, a split decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a title eliminator would set her plans back just a bit. Following up the loss with a submission victory over Michelle Waterson, Namajunas finally got her long-awaited shot at the belt again.
This time around, Namajunas wouldn’t let the opportunity pass and handed Joanna her first – and later second – career loss. Despite an unassuming record, Namajunas has one of the most robust resumes in any women’s division and her only losses have come in close defeats against some of the best female fighters on the planet.
UFC 237 airs May 11 on ESPN+. Order it here.
3. What Is Rose Namajunas’ Height?
Rose Namajunas’ height is 5’5″. Standing slightly taller than most of the other women in the UFC’s smallest weight class, Namajunas usually experiences both a size and reach advantage against her opponents. In fact, her only UFC opponent she hasn’t experienced a size advantage over is former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Against Andrade, Namajunas will have a three-inch height advantage, however, will be giving up nearly 15 pounds (maybe more) when the two fighters enter the ring. Namajunas is going to need to use her exceptional height and reach to keep Andrade at an arms bay. Andrade is strong to the point where if she gets her paws around you, there really isn’t anything you can do. Often said to be as strong as the male flyweights, Andrade knows her strengths and is great at closing distance.
That height and reach will be incredibly important for Namajunas. As great as she is on the ground, Andrade is simply too strong to let the fight go there and she needs to stand and pick Andrade apart from a distance. Namajunas has proven she has heavy enough hands to stop a fight, just ask Joanna, and if she can rack up damage on the outside, a late round TKO stoppage over Andrade just might be in the cards.
4. Who Could Be Rose Namajunas’ Next Fight?
If she successfully defends her belt Rose Namajunas’ next fight would likely be the winner of Nina Ansaroff and Tatiana Suarez. Ansaroff is a UFC veteran who seems to have found a second wind, winner her last four fights in a row. Meanwhile, Suarez is a relative newcomer holding an undefeated record of 7-0. Suarez has a big name win in Carla Esparza under her belt and with a win over Ansaroff, would vault herself into the conversation for top pound-for-pound female fighters.
If Namajunas drops the belt to Andrade, it could possibly set up a third showdown with Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a title eliminator, who plans to return to action in the second half of 2019. The two were previously involved in two scraps, one of which resulting in an epic five-round war. While Namajunas holds a two wins to nothing lead over Jedrzejczyk and Dana White isn’t a fan of going for the trilogy when it isn’t an even one win each, the division is thin to the point where the fight simply makes sense – not to mention Joanna is convinced she won the second fight.
However, Namajunas can ill afford to overlook the opponent in front of her at UFC 237. A brutalizing strawweight with one of the UFC’s most battle-tested track records, Andrade is a different type of beast compared to anyone that Namajunas has fought before. The women’s strawweight division is loaded with fast, technical strikers – mainly because the weight limit is only 115 pounds and it can be tough to generate much power at that weight. Andrade is an anomaly and cuts an incredible amount of weight to make 115, expect her to enter the cage closer to 135 pounds.
5. What Happened in Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk 1 & 2?
Rose Namajunas first challenged Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the strawweight belt on November 4th, 2017. Namajunas would pick up the win with a shocking first-round TKO over the champion to win the belt. After dropping the champ earlier in the round Namajunas smelled blood and would stalk Jedrzejczyk around the ring before finishing her for good with a flurry of punches nearly a minute later.
Given Jedrzejczyk’s extensive championship resume, an immediate rematch was almost a foregone conclusion from the second the first fight ended. The second tilt happened on April 7, 2018 and was a back and forth five round war between the two rivals. After Namajunas handily picked up the first two rounds, Jedrzejczyk turned things on and likely stole back rounds four and five. With things seemingly all square heading into the final round, the two fighters stood in the pocket and went toe-to-toe for the majority of the round. Namajunas would also score a takedown towards the end of the round before all judges ruled the fight in her favor.
After such an incredibly exciting fight, despite the fact that Jedrzejczyk is now 0-2, a third matchup between the two fighters might be in the cards. The strawweight division is fairly thin at the moment and the two fighters are clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the division – with the exception of Andrade.
UFC 237 airs May 11 on ESPN+. Order it here.