Rose Namajunas on Carla Esparza fight: "That was one of the most boring fights ever"

okay how are you I’m good how are you
I’m doing good thank you some people
were surprised to see you make the move
up to flyweight is this something you’ve
been thinking about for a while or was
it a spur in the moment no I’ve been
thinking about it for a while honestly
like when I originally
made a bunch of goals for my career
early on when I was younger uh being a
two division champ was kind of like
on the end of the list but it was there
um and so yeah here we are and you know
I’m kind of I think I’m known for
surprising people so you know it’s just
kind of my style
and uh you haven’t competed since May of
2022 so what has the physical
transformation been like to fly away
yeah I think uh just progressively uh
I’ve like early on in my career I was
maybe a smaller strawweight you would
say and then
um over time as I’ve matured and I’ve my
body changed uh each fight the cut would
get bigger and bigger and um this last
I think I the or the the fight with
Carla I think that weight cut I finally
had like the sunken in eyes and you know
what I mean like the thing that most
Fighters kind of deal with and I didn’t
like that I never really enjoyed cutting
away anyways like um or I never really
liked when people did like those huge
cuts a little bit’s okay you know but um
and I think I started to see myself kind
of going down that path and um yeah and
it was sort of in the back of my mind
anyways I still I still didn’t really
have too much like trouble making weight
I guess like it was it was tough but I
wasn’t and I don’t think in comparison
was it as bad as like most Fighters deal
with but
um I still never liked that I feel like
um you know taking punches when you’re
you’re it takes a while I think it takes
more than 24 hours to rehydrate your
brain after after cutting out much water
so to take punches like that and then
your kidneys and everything so
um yeah I’ve heard the question was but
um I guess oh so I guess the process of
me like putting on more like I I just
started getting bigger and then and like
naturally and then on top of that once I
decided to to take you know to move up I
lifted more weights I ate a little bit
more I actually started eating breakfast
again stop fasting so much like I would
fast once a week
um when I was at straw weight so
um I still fasted a couple times during
this camp but
um I just kind of just ate a little more
and lift their weights more and
um I naturally put on like a couple
pounds of muscle and maybe a little bit
of a little bit of some juice you know a
little bit of fat but not and uh I think
and then naturally as I gotten uh you
know closer to this fight uh
like the the weight started just kind of
coming off naturally
and with that all being said is flight
weight you’re a permanent home now yeah
uh fly weights I I can’t see myself
going back down again you know like um
uh that
I don’t know like now I’m I’m kind of
naturally just walking around at like
so they’re waking up at 1 35 so
to to uh yeah go all the way down to 115
would be tough
and you’re fighting Manoa who’s top
Contender some people felt like she
probably would have gotten a title shot
if she didn’t get injured you said she’s
a challenge that excites you what is it
about man all that excites you yeah I
think um just her like traditional
martial arts background
um her coming from Karate I come from
Taekwondo you know just her movement her
uh her
uh length and like her High I you know
everybody kind of says like oh you know
flyways are bigger and this and that but
like I feel like finding some of the
shorter Fighters at strawway was kind of
more of a challenge for me sometimes
um this is going to be a totally
different Challenge and of course like
you know I’m gonna respect the power
that she brings and and maybe her
strength and stuff like that but I also
feel a lot stronger and a lot like
quicker and and um just overall
and because she’s a talk Contender is it
safe to say you expect a title shot with
one no expectations you know I just I
just hope and pray that um that God uses
me in a way that I can you know glorify
him and and hopefully like that I put on
a good performance and that can inspire
people and and hopefully um you know
everything else just kind of takes care
of itself but yeah that would definitely
be a dream come true you know to be like
I said that was that wasn’t my goals but
um I’m not you know looking too far
ahead I’m just kind of in the moment
and I know you just said you’re not
looking too far ahead but Valentine is
going to rematch Alexa grass so uh first
of all how do you see that fight playing
out and I know you’ve trained with
Valentina before so would it be art
potentially fighting her
yeah um like that would I I really look
up to her and like I uh you know she’s
definitely like I’ve always uh as of
recently she had been like my favorite
fighter like kind of before becoming the
champ like she kind of gave me that
confidence uh training with her to to
feel like I could really do that and um
so yeah I’m forever grateful for that
and and it would be awesome to see her
to get that belt again
um I think approaching this fight with
with Alexa I think as long as she makes
more adjustments than just like okay let
me make sure I don’t make that one
mistake that I made in the fight as long
as she makes sure she’s getting better
um I I have full confidence that she’s
been able to get it back
um but if if she approaches it like oh I
just I just slipped up and that’s it
like she just took my back like no like
I think you have to respect the full
performance of Alexa Grosso and um in
order to be her you know um because I I
think she she was the better fighter
that night and as long as you have the
right attitude like you know I think she
ultimately Valentina I believe is the
better fighter and would it be hard to
potentially fight her
would it be hard yeah of course yeah I
mean hard because you used to try oh
because well I mean well the way she
trains I mean it felt like it was a
freaking fight the whole time so uh so I
don’t know like of course that would be
difficult yeah like because I um I have
so much respect for her but
um I know that you know the martial
martial artist that she is like she will
fully understand as well
um and I think she would be excited for
that as well
um I don’t I don’t know exactly how she
feels about it but
um you know like yeah I guess there’s no
point in really like
now because I gotta I gotta do what I
gotta do Saturday you know yeah and one
last one for me does it bother you that
people judge you off of that last
performance when you’ve given us so many
amazing Knockouts and fights and
highlights uh it did at first but like I
kind of deserved it you know what I mean
like uh I was a little bitter
um but yeah like uh I just had to kind
of get out of my feelings a little bit
and um uh realize that
yeah like I might have I might have
things and challenges that I deal with
but it’s you know it doesn’t there’s not
anybody else’s business right so
um they’re just here to to to be
inspired to be entertained or to to
learn something and that’s my job as as
a martial artist is to to go out there
and and and do my job and I did my job
but you know like I definitely could
have did a better job so
um so yeah it was a process and but um
well there’s just one more on that
um did you watch the fight back and when
you did what did you think of the
commentary because I remember listening
to it that night thinking they were
pretty harsh on the both of you guys
they were kind of on it
basically I’m wondering if you had any
thoughts on that no that was definitely
like one of the most boring fights ever
so but you know uh like
yeah I mean
I don’t know I guess being being the
fighter like it feels a little different
you know
um when when somebody’s like because
it’s not just a sport for me it’s like
it’s an art and so you know when
somebody critiques your art you get a
little emotional about it but ultimately
like you know that’s fair to say what
they had to say because it was really it
was really nothing really happened
I just uh you know I was I was kind of
in my feelings about it because I felt
like okay it’s it’s you know that
there’s always this like unspoken thing
of like the challengers gotta take it in
order to get it right but yeah whatever
you know it’s my fault you said that one
of your long-term goals was to win the
belt in two divisions when you imagined
that did you think you would still have
the title in the other Division and do
the double champ thing or did you always
know when you moved up you were going to
have to move up wholeheartedly and leave
the other Division behind you
um no I wasn’t thinking about any of
um I just
you know I guess back then I was maybe
thinking about uh like winning that
fight and then maybe having one more
show away or just moving up like after
that so
um but I don’t know like all the
logistics that like you know what I mean
I wasn’t in that position before so I
didn’t really think about that you
mentioned that you’re feeling uh
stronger and faster was that do you
think able to do that because often we
hear these guys people move up they lose
their speed in return for power right
but do you think because you took a
while to slowly transition up you’ve
managed to keep both
um say that one more time do you feel
like because you took a while to slowly
move up and wait you feel like you’ve
been able to sort of not lose the speed
that you once had yeah
um I definitely I also think like
um healthier too but also like um I’m
more mature and like experienced and I
feel like my timing’s gone a lot better
like I I’m I’m doing the things that I
would do on accident when I was younger
and but I’m actually understanding why
I’m doing what I’m doing so it’s like
it’s kind of a little bit of everything
being healthier but also like being more
Rose over here
uh it’s your first time fighting in
Europe I wonder how when did you get to
Paris and how have you adjusted to the
time difference
uh I got to Paris like
we flew out Thursday got here Friday
night and
um had the weekend to just like sleep a
lot I’ve been sleeping a lot so
um I feel like I’m I’m on a schedule now
and I feel very
um adjusted but
um yeah I’ve I’ve
I’ve traveled like in other countries to
fight before and
um having this extra time definitely was
like the right move
and earlier this year you visited
Lithuania I wonder what was that
experience like for you man that was
magical that was
um it kind of
I uh as a as a champion like during
during my last Title reign and even
before that the the first one
always like put a lot of like um
like pressure on myself to try to like
you know do good things for the
community or try to like help other
people because like what we do sometimes
feels very selfish and
um and so I never really felt like I had
that like what fruit am I really
producing like okay I’m winning fights
some maybe like maybe some you know
people excited or you know providing
something but like I wanted to see the
actual fruit like that I was bearing and
so that having sitting next to my like
my other grandma on my dad’s side uh
sitting next to her the at the
documentary premiere of my own
documentary like in the theater with
like hundreds of lithuanians there that
were like so happy to see me and like um
what what I kind of did for them and
um just representing that country and
everything that that country’s been
through and acknowledging that history
and stuff I uh that was like and then I
watched myself talking about like
uh having the belt you know and then
being like I want to you know produce
fruit with the seed that I’ve been given
like when I saw that and then sitting
next to my grandma watching her see that
it was like this is it you know and so
it finally like and I realized that
bearing fruit kind of takes time it’s
like daily water in the plants and not
just like instant insane it doesn’t
happen instantly it has the daily acts
of faith produce fruit over time
and did the Lithuania trip in your
Lithuania would make it easier for you
to accept this fight in Paris
actually yeah because
um I don’t know if it made it easier but
uh it made it more attractive for sure
like just being in Europe uh I even you
know uh had a relative that wanted to
come here it didn’t end up working out
um you know I I do have a lot of
Lithuanian fans in London as well so
it’s just like
um yes uh
yeah it definitely even like the city
kind of reminds me a little bit of like
the capital and Lithuania so
um it’s cool
that’s one for me it’s rare that people
kind of rule against you because you’re
such a fan favorite but now you’re going
into enemy territory but fighting a
French fighter in France wonder what
kind of reception do you expect from the
Paris crowd no expectations you know
like I I’m just going out there to be
myself and uh whatever whatever the
crowd presents if they want to cheer boo
whatever you know
um I’m here to do my job and and um yeah
I understand like uh I’m not gonna be
mad if they want to root for their their
person you know
uh hey Rose welcome to Paris uh I have a
question from the French ideas because
we are live on Twitch right now uh they
just want to know what do you consider
as the biggest threat from manufuro game
style fighting style yeah um
I guess I would say like her
um the center line you know that she she
kind of she’s very linear you know
um and like her kicks and her strikes
you know I’d say uh are
she’s really good at keeping her
distance in range and so basically it
comes down to like footwork and timing
and and range and distance and angles
and and so yeah I’m fully prepared for
that and that’s why I really was excited
for this matchup because of like what
she brings to the table her like her
karate background all right and
considering the fact that you are pretty
balanced in your style you can strike
you can wrestle you can go on the ground
how do you prepare yourself do you see
that fight like going into the wrestle
when you can have an advantage or how do
you yeah I mean and that’s the thing is
uh I see myself uh using all of my mixed
martial arts skills you know I’m not
just a striker I’m not just a Grappler
like I use it also I I expect there to
be to be a little bit everything in this
um even herself she’s pretty
well-rounded as well she
um she likes to maybe secure take down
you know a few times in a row uh or if
it’s a close round she kind of like does
that so as far as what we’ve seen but
I’m also like ready for the unexpected
too like you know I’m not I’m not gonna
say like this is what we’ve seen from
her so this is all she’s gonna do so
um but I expect myself to be you know
all of mixed martial arts all right and
last one for me and um with uh one year
without fighting how do you avoid the
ring rust and everything and considering
the fact that you’re moving up uh to
another way division yeah um I never
really believed in ring rust I I always
felt like
um because I’m always training and I’m
always a martial artist like if that was
just like an athlete or something like
okay but um
I’m always in the mindset of like a
fight can happen at any moment so uh to
me it’s like yeah I um and and and
sometimes those long breaks are good to
like actually get better because when
you’re constantly like in a fight Camp
you’re a lot of the times just focus on
like just
um you’re focus on very specific things
rather than just kind of getting better
as a whole
bye thank you
I was
you you take a fight despite you have a
lot to lose a lot to win um you need
this kind of pressure is this a new
challenge for you and uh was it your
choice or something someone told you to
no this is me
um effort I think even when I first
brought up the idea of moving up to
strong or to flyweight uh it wasn’t like
instantly like
uh like from my team it wasn’t like uh
yeah let’s do it like I mean not to say
they were against it but it just like I
think over time
um as I’ve like naturally kind of put on
some size and then like
um just feeling a little healthier like
it it’s it’s slowly become like a um an
accepted thing that oh yeah like what
were we even thinking like yeah this is
definitely the right move but um
but yeah this is this is kind of my idea
can we say that this fight is a tech
yeah man
that goes all the time
thank you yeah thank you
thank you guys