UFC President Dana White made a bold claim before the recent season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20, stating that the show featured the ‘next Ronda Rousey.’
The dominant UFC women’s bantamweight champion kind of let the cat out of the bag when she said that dynamic contestant Rose Namajunas was her favorite competitor to watch on the show. For her part, Namajunas didn’t fail to deliver. She promptly rang up three submissions in her three TUF bouts, dispatching upstart Randa Markos in last night’s (Wed., December 10, 2014) semifinals to earn a spot in the finals against Invicta strawweight champion and number one seed Carla Esparza.
Esparza has looked effective if not spectacular on her run towards the title fight at this Friday’s TUF 20 Finale, but Namajunas has been running through competition like only her “Rowdy” role model has done. The fiancée of former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry, Namajunas is only 22 years old and quickly improving.
The sky’s the limit for her, but comparisons to Rousey set a very lofty bar for Namajunas to be measured against. True, she’s decimated the competition on the show, but we’ve seen many a fighter dominate on TUF only to crumble when they got to the UFC.
Namajunas should be different; she appears to be a talented, well rounded, and driven fighter with a very bright future ahead of her. Will she be able to live up to the comparisons to Rousey?