Rose Namajunas is honored to be called the next Ronda Rousey
The competitors on The Ultimate Fighter aren’t allowed to bring much into the house outside of a few personal effects such as a few photos of family and loved ones. Ultimate Fighter finalist Rose Namajunas brought a special picture with her and it’s the same one that she has hanging on her refrigerator that she looks at each and every day she leaves for training and then comes home from a hard day at the gym.
A fan made Namajunas a picture before she left for the reality show with the UFC title wrapped around her waist. She’s stared at that picture everyday since receiving it and never loses focus of the ultimate goal — becoming the UFC women’s strawweight champion.
With three fights and three finishes on the show, Namajunas proved what she was capable of doing but those wins only got her to the finale. Now the job is claiming the title by beating Carla Esparza on Friday night.
"I set the tone, I set the bar very high," Namajunas told TUF Talk. "I do feel like every fight’s going to be a challenge and with that pressure I’ve got to meet those expectations. I knew from the start that’s what I’m capable of. It’s always a matter of unlocking it in myself and proving it to other people."
Before the show ever aired, UFC president Dana White teased that there was another Ronda Rousey on this season of the series. Now that the season has wrapped it’s clear he was addressing Namajunas, who tore through the competition with three wins all by submission in a very Rousey-like performance.
Rousey has even stated several times that her favorite fighter on the show is Namajunas.
While every fighter wants to create their own identity, Namajunas is proud that people compare her to the top women’s fighter in the sport. She’s honored that the new generation of women’s mixed martial artists may one day want to be the next Rose Namajunas as well.
"I don’t mind being compared to people," Namajunas said. "For a while I was just Pat Barry’s girlfriend and I didn’t mind because that’s a compliment! Being the next Ronda Rousey is a compliment as well and I don’t mind people making those comparisons.
"It gives me chills just thinking about it. It’s surreal, it’s hard to believe, but at the same time it strangely feels fitting. I knew all my life I was destined for something great. I’ve always felt different. I always felt I had some type of talent, some type of skill the world needs to see and I’m finally coming into my own and it’s all coming together and people are starting to realize."
To hear the rest of the interview with Namajunas where she talks about her upcoming fight with Carla Esparza and much more check out the audio via Soundcloud below: