Former UFC strawweight champion, ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas has opened up on her traumatic experience during the infamous bus attack, perpetrated by former two-weight world champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor during fight week ahead of UFC 223 in April of 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
McGregor, who was then entangled in the ultimate beginnings of his now scalding rivalry with undisputed lightweight champion, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov — along with a group of associates travelled to the parking lot of the Barclays Center, in a bid to draw out the latter after an earlier incident involving McGregor’s SBG teammate, Artem Lobov and Khabib.
Briefly held back by security, McGregor eventually got his hands on a moving dolly, which he threw through the window of the reversing bus — shattering its glass. Sat amongst the red-corner fighters, Khabib was beckoned out of the bus by McGregor who began slamming his fist on the buses window, as UFC welterweight contender, Michael Chiesa dealt with a cut on his forehead.
Also seated on the vehicle; defending strawweight champion, Namajunas who was scheduled to attempt the first defence of her 115-pound title against two-time opponent, dominant former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Detailing her experience of the infamous incident in a newly launched UFC Fight Pass series, UFC Year of the Fighter: Rose Namajunas – the Pat Barry and Trevor Wittman product told how the whole experience felt like an “eternity“”.
“It was like an eternity in that bus, because I had no idea who that was that was attacking us,” Namajunas said. “All of a sudden I see a big ol’ fist kind of bang on my window and then I see one of the security guards grab one of the dudes. I didn’t know it was Conor (McGregor) until a little bit later. When he threw the dolly, the bus was backing up into the elevator spot as he threw it to the window right in front of me. But had the bus not been moving, it would have hit my window.“
According to the former champion, the entire incident brought back unsettling memories of bus journeys of her youth where objects would be hurled at the vehicle as it travelled through neighbourhoods.
“In my head, once I found out it was Conor, I was a little relieved, but I still was on edge,” Namajunas said. “It just took me back to when I was a kid, riding to school through bad neighbourhoods on a bus and people throwing sh*t at our bus. And I’ve never been completely cornered like that. We were just sitting there not in control. So, what did I do in that moment? I said the Lord’s prayer again and then it did make me feel a little bit better at that moment, and it got me through that tough moment.“
“And everything that was from my childhood, this is what I fought to get out of, and this is like back to stupid street sh*t,” Namajunas explained. “I don’t want to be around that any more. That’s what I fought my way out of.“
A former strawweight champion, Namajunas is widely expected to make her second title challenge sometime next year as she sits as the number-one contender to incumbent best, Zhang ‘Magnum’ Weili’s 115-pound throne via a close decision win over former opponent and titleholder, Jessica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade on ‘Fight Island’ in July.