Rose Namajunas weighs up potential flyweight move, future fight with ‘friend’ Valentina Shevchenko

Rose Namajunas
Mandatory Credit: Cooper Neil - Zuffa LLC & Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

Former two-time UFC strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas has talked up a potential move to the promotion’s flyweight division ahead of her next Octagon outing – as well as weighing up a possible future matchup with division queen, Valentina Shevchenko. 

Namajunas, a former two-time strawweight champion under the UFC banner, co-headlined UFC 274 back in May against two-time opponent, Carla Esparza – where she dropped the undisputed crown in one of the most forgettable title fights in the organization’s antiquity

The Milwaukee native regained the undisputed strawweight title back in April of last year – stopping Zhang Weili with a brutal first round high kick knockout.

Defending the title back in November at UFC 268, Namajunas defeated Weili in an immediate title re-run at Madison Square Garden.

Weighing up her future options in the sport amid her loss to Esparza earlier this year, Namajunas remained receptive to a potential leap to flyweight waters.

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“I don’t know, you can do the math,” Rose Namajunas told MMA Fighting regarding a potential flyweight climb. “I really don’t know, like I said, just one step at a time. The UFC has given me some offers for things and I just need the time to just not think about fighting at all, and then in the fall I’ll kind of lay out everything to see what makes sense.”

Rose Namajunas admits she would have to consider a fight with Valentina Shevchenko

However, as far as a potential flyweight title excursion against Shevchenko, Namajunas admitted that whilst the two are friends, she would have to strongly consider challenging for spoils.

“I love Valentina (Shevchenko),” Rose Namajunas said. “In my opinion, and I always forget that Amanda Nunes is the women’s GOAT of MMA, but Valentina, if she keeps doing what she’s doing, you could make that case [for her] as well. I do consider myself to be Valentina’s friend, so in order for me to do that, we would have to be set up, not for life, but it would have to be for a very good reason for me to even want to step to her.”

“She is amazing in all ways, and I have felt what she feels like in practice,” Rose Namajunas explained. “I know a fight is a totally different thing, so that would be hard for me to say. Obviously, as a martial artist, that would definitely be very interesting. But, yeah, I don’t know yet. It would have to be [very lucrative]. I love Valentina. I consider her to be my friend. I’ve nver had a problem with being cordial with people I’m going to fight.”

“I’ve maintained friendships with people that I’ve fought, but I’ve never had an issue with fighting a teammate or anything like that. I have started to think a little bit differently about fighting at this point in my life. It would be difficult with the emotions and things like that, and I feel like I’m a different person right now. I would have to think about it,” Rose Namajunas explained.

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A career strawweight, the current #1 ranked contender holds prior Octagon wins over the likes of Angela Hill, Paige VanZant, Tecia Torres, Michelle Waterson, and former champions, Joanna Jedrzjeczyk, and Jessica Andrade.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.