Originally reported by MMA Junkie, the UFC Europe Twitter account confirmed that “Thug” will battle French mixed martial artist Manon Fiorot on September 2 as part of the Octagon’s return to Paris, France. The flyweight tilt is Namajuna’s first of her illustrious 11-5 professional career. Fiorot, known as “The Beast,” is a career 125-pounder and will enter the contest with a 10-1 record, which includes six KO/TKO victories.
Namajunas hasn’t competed since losing her 115-pound strap in May 2022 to Carla Esparza at UFC 274 via split decision. The defeat halted her three-fight winning streak which included back-to-back victories over Weili Zhang that saw Thug become a two-time strawweight queen.
On the other end, Fiorot last fought in October 2022 when she bested former 125-pound title challenger Katlyn Chookagian by unanimous decision at UFC 280. The Beast is 5-0 as a UFC athlete, which includes a unanimous decision nod against another ex-title challenger, Jennifer Maia, in March 2022.
Fiorot is ranked No. 2 in the division, per the official UFC standings, and Namajunas sits as the No. 2 strawweight. No. 1-ranked flyweight Valentina Shevchenko has been linked to Alexa Grasso, the woman who took her 125-pound belt in March at UFC 285, for an instant rematch. A fight has yet to be confirmed by the promotion. But considering their rankings, the winner of Namajunas vs. Fiorot could produce the next opponent for the winner of Grasso vs. Shevchenko.
Fiorot Was Eyeing a Potential Matchup With Namajunas
The Beast spoke with MMA Junkie in December about the possibility of fighting Namajunas. Fiorot said she didn’t care who she battled next, but that she wanted to clash with somebody in August.
“Waiting on Valentina is not an option for me, because I really want to fight in August,” Fiorot said. “In my mind, in my mindset, I say to everyone I will beat Valentina. So if I say that, I can win against anybody in the division. So I don’t care who I fight in August. I don’t know against who, but I heard two weeks or three weeks ago that Rose (Namajunas) wants to move up to the flyweight division. I’m the No. 1 contender, so if she comes, she has to fight me. Then after we can see.”
“For now, I don’t care about my next opponent – I will take everyone in the division,” The Beast continued. “I want a main event fight to keep some eyes on me and get some experience before I fight for the belt.”
Ciryl Gane vs. Serghei Spivac is Slated to Headline UFC Paris
Although Fiorot told the outlet she wanted to serve as the final act for her next event, former interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane — the man who headlined the UFC’s debut in France last year — will do so instead.
Gane is coming off a loss to Jon Jones in what was his second attempt to become the unified heavyweight king. He’ll look to protect his No. 1 ranking by halting the momentum of No. 8 Serghei Spivac, who is riding a three-fight win streak that includes a submission over Derrick Lewis.