This is something I personally have been wanting to write about for a while.
Like those keywords you manage to doodle around on your whiteboard that stay up for weeks without notice covered by a magnet or two, YAAA. Guilty AF? Maybe. BUT LIKE...
FUUUUUCK YOOOOOU writer's block.
ANYWAYS, the bitch is back soooooo let's move forward, alright?
Ya? Alright. Lessssssssgooo.
Rose. Rose Namajunas. Rose with 'dem hands. Namajunas-Son. Thug Rose. Thug Rosè: The Pianist. One Thug and a tomato plant.
I MEAAAAAN we can keep it going, but on a real note, whatever you want to call her...
IT. DOESN'T. MATTER. Because she damn well is telling you what time it is and has been throughout all these years.
Now let's jump into my DeLorean with her dog Mishka and gun it back to 2013 during Invicta FC 4 when she was making her professional debut into MMA against Emily Kagan (3-3).
It was a pretty back-and-forth fight.
Scrappy AF. Rose got tested on her back. Clearly gets to her feet. Going for submissions LIKE WHOA. By the time round 3 came through, ohhhhh baby did she do the damn thing. To win her debut with that rear-naked choke...
Need I say more?
This fight between her and Kathina "Kill Switch" Lowe (7-10)? GIRRRRRL BYE. It lasted about 12 seconds in the 1st round.
I was watching the TV like "OH SHIT". She came like fucking speed racer across that cage towards Lowe and submitted her so fast with the most baller flying armbar.
Also, my favorite fighter post-celebration by FAAAAAARRRRRRR just to add that in real quick.
Then guess what?
ANOTHER 3 months later she goes to face the power striker of Tecia "Tiny Tornado" Torres (10-2) during Invicta FC 6.
NOT GONNA LIIIIE, Tecia has been one of my favorites from the beginning. Watching this fight was like watching 2 of my own daughters fighting each other to see who would come out to be my favorite child or some shit.
Even though that was Namajunas' last fight inside Invicta FC, that loss didn't define her as she moved forward to become one of the contestants to join the first-ever women's season of The Ultimate Fighter a year later for strawweight.
I noticed during that show and assessing from what she has done inside Invicta FC, she is a BRAWLER.
Very fast, very quick, but a little messy DURING THAT TIME not gonna lie...
She had a few good fights.. like with Alex "Astro Girl" Chambers (5-4), my boo Randa "Quiet Storm" Markos (8-3) where she won...
I was like SUHHH DUDE
AND THEEEEEEEENNN went into the finale to fight Carla "Cookie Monster" Esparza (13-4) for the first-ever women's strawweight Championship belt inside the UFC.
she lost to a rear-naked choke, surprisingly.
I was a bit bummed BUT knew the UFC couldn't get rid of Rose.
The new division needed her.
YOU ARE IN THE UFC NOW!!!
Then 2015 came around as the year for even more rear-naked chokes.
At UFC 192, she faced, Angela "Overkill" Hill (8-4), who at the time seemed like no threat. That fight was rather one-sided. She climbed on top of Hill like a spider monkey and managed to choke her out until the knees of Overkill touched the ground of the Octagon.
After that, the UFC dropped Hill from the division for her performance while Namajunas remained to keep following the journey.
THIS fight was a turning point for me.
It was a mix between a fighter who learned and wanted to grow through her professional career from the young and tenacious scrapper who went through a VERY hard life yet was shaping into something special.
It's like when Simba from the Lion King grew from a teenager to an adult.
This was a beautiful thing and I knew then this girl would be Champion one day cause she can actually LEARN from her losses to become better.
Then after that, she was like "BITCH.. the hair is coming off IDGAF."
Like a transformation straight from America's Next Top Model. Cause NONE of those girls want to be bald, but Thug Rose as hell did.
WHO IS SHE THO?!
At the end of that year, she had a fight with Paige "12 Gauge" VanZant (7-3), who I would say got A LOT of attention from the UFC.
Even though Rose was the REAL DEAL (at least in my eyes) her fighting and BEATING Paige during their own main event at UFC Fight Night 80 in Las Vegas, reeeeeeeeeally would put her on the map as far as the casual fanbase goes...
And it did.
Five rounds of BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
Now... NEXT on Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Paige VanZant was so humbled from her loss that she decided to walk into Rose's footsteps...
Unfortunately, that episode never came out on the show which was a real shame, HOWEVER...
Did that win slow down Rose?
FUCK NO. She was a hungry, hungry hippo fashooooo.
Half a year later into 2016 she went for redemption from a loss against Tecia Torres. That moment inside of Invicta FC where she suffered her first loss, I'm sure that doesn't really go away. Namajunas wanted to prove to herself and to everyone that she was the better fighter.
In my honest opinion, this was a very tough fight. Tecia was undefeated at the time yet already seemed like she had the rematch in the bag. UFC on Fox 19 was the moment Rose needed. Both of these fighters grew and deserved whatever result was handed to them by the judges.
As I was nervous AF during the entire damn fight.
Bruce Buffer coming through reading her name and the ref coming to raise the hand of Namajunas where she secured her win. In her mind, her loss was no more cause she fucking DID IT.
I was like YAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
Three months later shit was getting REALLY REAL as the top contenders in the division were coming forward like, "BOO BITCH I'M HEREEEEEEE"...
Meanwhile, a cute yet badass fighter named Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2), who was the KSW women's flyweight Champion, moved down into the strawweight division inside the UFC.
Even though she wasn't successful when fighting for the belt against Joanna Jędrzejczyk (14-1) at the time, that really did put a stamp on the division.
I mean, you couldn't get any better with it being Poland vs Poland but made sense for Rose to test the waters and see if she could hang.
Namajunas went a full three rounds with Karolina during UFC 201, but came up short when she lost to a very close split decision.
In ways, I couldn't see much wrong with Rose, because she was improving in the way she should of. It was so fucking evident. July 30, 2016, just wasn't her night at all.
But what did she do?
Went back to the drawing board and kept training.
From there I traveled to UFC Denver last year and happened to see Rose in the audience during the weigh-ins. I went to talk to her CAUSE I AIN'T NO BITCH (but also had a convo with her on Twitter where she started to follow me EYYYY)
I mentioned how there were rumors of her fighting Michelle "the Karate Hottie" Waterson (14-6).
They both had a win against Paige VanZant and from the loss and how the rankings were flowing through the division it made all the sense in the world to have them fight.
Also during this time, current Champion, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, didn't think much of Rose being "competition" and felt Waterson was the next RIGHTFUL contender to fight for the belt.
As I'm just sitting around eating popcorn and sipping on my TEAAAA all of the sudden it's April 15, 2017, during UFC on FOX 24 and not only did Namajunas knock Waterson to the floor with a leg kick but she jumped onto her back and submitted that win with uhhhhhh let's take a wild guess...
Time to say it with me now...
All during round 2 and I just KNEW that was going to happen deep inside my MMA prediction bones.
The next step was a title match with Jędrzejczyk.
That same year in November my job sent me to New York.
It was like MAGIC. I already had tickets for UFC 219 but didn't have a hotel or flight. LUCKILY, my job took care of that and I was taking my ass to Madison Square Garden for the first time.
The night of November 4, 2017 the life of Rose Namajunas would change.
I remember an interview she did where she talked about certain goals she had for herself before she turned the age of 30. One of those goals was to buy a house, which she did. Then the other was to become the women's strawweight champion.
When Rose swung that right hook that left Joanna speechless to taps on the ground and kept GOING with those strikes against the cage, I legit didn't even know what to do with myself inside my seat.
It was like a mirage of John Mccarthy stopping that fight.
I IMMEDIATELY got up and started running up and downstairs SCREAAAAAMING my ass off!!!
I was so happy and elated.
Namajunas was 25 years of age that night. She did more than accomplish her goal.
I can't begin to explain how needed a Champion like "Thug Rose" Namajunas is inside the UFC. From Invicta FC 4 aaaaaall throughout the years till this moment now, no one is more deserving of that belt than her.
From the hard work and dedication. She is without a question AN INSPIRATION.
If you think she has shown her best yet, she hasn't. Because on April 7, 2018, in Brooklyn at UFC 223, her opponent Joanna is going to get a taste of humble pie in this rematch.
It might not be easy, but that belt isn't going anywhere.
You don't want to miss it.