In the lead-up to her UFC 217 strawweight title fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Rose Namajunas had to deal with a plethora of trash talk and quite a bit of mental warfare from her Polish adversary.
To the surprise of some, “Thug” Rose remained calm, cool, and collected. In fact, she feels as if her ability to do so allowed her to beat Jedrzejczyk at ‘her own game’:
“This was a fight of mental warfare,” Namajunas said on today’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I beat her at her own game. I think each time that I wasn’t giving her nothing, she needs that. She needs somebody to fire back. I just wasn’t gonna do it and I just stuck with it. It definitely took a lot of restraint on my end, it took a lot of control. It took a lot out of me to do it. But I knew that’s what I had to do. I knew that’s the way to beat her is to shut her mental game down.”
It was clear that Jedrzejczyk was the more intense of the two prior to the bout, and she even appeared to be embracing the heel role, or the role of a villain so to say. In the end, however, Namajunas stunned the mixed martial arts community, stopping Jedrzejczyk in the first round of their title bout.
Speaking on the fight, Namajunas said that the ‘good prevailed for once’:
“It felt like good prevailed for once,” Namajunas said. “I feel like we’ve been in kind of a dark time these past few years and there’s always gonna be good and bad. We need the villain sometimes. It makes for an interesting story. I think people can relate. They love the Rocky story, they love the underdog. That’s what happened.”
Given how successful Jedrzejczyk’s title run was prior to UFC 217, a rematch between Namajunas and the ex-champion is certainly a possibility.
Who would you like to see “Thug” Rose make the first defense of her newly acquired title against?