On Saturday night at UFC 274, Rose Namajunas lost the strawweight title in a rematch against Carla Esparza. But in her mind, “Thug Rose” was the rightful winner because she stuck to her strategy.
“I won that fight. I stuck with the strategy. I felt like as if I landed more shots. I even took her down. None of her takedowns were significant or (had) any control time,” Namajunas said during her post-fight media scrum.
“I felt like I did the damage, I controlled the fight, and I’m proud of myself because I stuck to my strategy, ‘cause I know that in all of Carla’s fights, she just baits people in, and she tries to get people to attack her.”
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Namajunas’ fiancé and trainer Pat Barry echoed the same sentiment.
“We had a strategy and she stuck to it, for the first time ever. For the first time ever, she stuck to the game plan and didn’t stray away. She didn’t become undisciplined. She stuck to it,” Barry told Ariel Helwani.
“It just so happens that Carla stuck to her game plan, too, and neither one of them broke. That’s all we were waiting for.
“We went back to it, and every time they click over to Carla’s corner in between rounds, you can hear (coach) Colin Oyama saying ‘she’s about to do that thing that she always does. The crowd’s booing, she’s getting frustrated. She’s gonna do that thing and when she does it, you know exactly what to do.’”
To further argue his point, Barry named some specific moments where Namajunas strayed away from the strategy.
“If she’s motivated, if she’s driven, if she has a purpose, we’ve all seen what she can do. We’ve all watched it over and over again, just amazing. Joanna I, bam. Joanna II, gone. Jessica I, amazing, until she decided to stray away from the game plan. Now, she’s dropped on her head,” he explained.
“That’s the one thing that I think the general population in the world doesn’t take into consideration. There are dire consequences for messing up in this game. If you stray away from the plan, and you start to freestyle — which the majority of the time when she does, it’s a work of art.
“But every once in a while, she’ll stray away from the game plan and get her nose broken with one punch. Think about it, Jessica part two. I don’t think she got hit one time until two and a half minutes left in the last round.
“One punch, all because she decided to stray away from the game plan. She decided to do her own thing, she got punished for it.”
After UFC 274, the 29-year-old Namajunas dropped to a record of 11-5.