Rose Namajunas claims move up in weight permanent: Done with strawweight

Former UFC champion Rose Namajunas has officially announced that she will not be returning to the strawweight division, citing weight-cutting issues as the primary reason for her decision.

Rose Namajunas, widely recognized as one of the most prominent female mixed martial artists in the UFC, has achieved considerable success in the strawweight division. The two-time UFC women’s strawweight champion has conquered formidable opponents in this weight class throughout her career.

However, Namajunas faced a setback when she lost her title for the second time to Carla Esparza in May of the previous year. The 31-year-old fighter experienced a unanimous decision defeat in a notably inactive five-round contest. Both Namajunas and Esparza encountered criticism for their cautious approach, seemingly reluctant to engage in aggressive exchanges.

Following this pivotal defeat, Namajunas contemplated retirement but ultimately opted to make her comeback to the octagon. However, her return comes with a significant twist—she will transition to the flyweight division for the first time. In her debut at this weight class, she will take on the rising star Manon Fiorot.

Manon Fiorot, boasting an impressive 5-0 record in the UFC, views Namajunas as her most challenging opponent to date. The highly anticipated clash between the two fighters is scheduled for UFC Fight Night 226, set to occur on September 2 in Paris, France. Notably, both Namajunas and Fiorot successfully weighed in below the 126-pound limit during the official weigh-in held on Friday.

Addressing her shift to the flyweight division during the pre-fight press conference, Namajunas clarified that this move is permanent due to the difficulties she encountered when cutting weight.

“I can’t see myself going back down again. Now I’m kind of just naturally walking around at 135, or waking up at 135. To go all the way down to 115 (strawweight) would be tough,” explained Namajunas.

Namajunas also revealed that her aspiration to become a two-division champion dates back to her younger years. With her transition to the flyweight division, she is eager to transform this childhood dream into reality.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I originally made a bunch of goals for my career early on when I was younger. Being a two-division champ was on the end of the list – but it was there, and here we are. I think I’m known for surprising people. It’s just kind of my style,” Namajunas expressed.

Manon Fiorot is currently ranked as the 10th contender in the women’s flyweight division. If Namajunas emerges victorious in this pivotal matchup, she could position herself for a title shot in the near future.