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Morning Report: Rose Namajunas refutes Dana White’s claim she doesn’t want title shot

Rose Namajunas
Rose Namajunas | Esther Lin

Earlier this year, Rose Namajunas avenged her loss to Jessica Andrade, winning a split decision at UFC 251 over the woman who took her strawweight title from her. The win wasn’t just a chance to avenge a loss though, it also set up Namajunas for a title shot against current champion Weili Zhang.

Or, at least, it was supposed to. Last week, UFC President Dana White called that fight into question by stating that Namajunas “doesn’t want to fight for the title.” Namajunas’ team immediately refuted White’s claim, stating that they “don’t want to air this out publicly,” and now Namajunas herself has responded to the claim as well.

Speaking on her YouTube channel, Namajunas addressed the “confusion” surrounding her next fight, tacitly rejecting White’s claim.

“I don’t know if you follow stuff that’s out there in the MMA news, but apparently there’s some confusion going on about my next fight and whatever,” Namajunas said. “So I don’t know. I’m not worried about any of that. I’m just ready to fight. So I don’t know what’s going on, but I know that you guys are ready for me to fight, too.”

While not an outright refutation of White, it does seem clear there is a disconnect between what White has said and what Namajunas wants. But White didn’t just claim that Namajunas didn’t want the fight, he claimed the former strawweight champion wasn’t interested in being champion again because of the pressure involved, something Namajunas rejected completely.

“Maybe there’s a misconception out there that, whatever, I’m weak-minded or whatever or, ‘I can’t handle the pressures of being champion,’ or whatever the f*ck people say,” Namajunas said. “That’s not true. That’s what I live for. I’m the pressure cooker. What better reason to remind me why I fight than a family member passing away. So I am super ready for all of that because that’s what I am fighting for.”

The confusion regarding Namajunas’ desire to fight is the latest in a long line of presumptive title challengers who Dana White has claimed “don’t want to fight.” Earlier this year it was Jorge Masvidal and Jon Jones who didn’t want to fight, and just a few months ago, it was Tony Ferguson. In each of those instances, the fighters in question said that they wanted to be paid more. So, reading between the lines here, it seems that Namajunas does, in fact, want to challenge for the title but she or her management are unhappy with the offered pay. And given that the UFC is coming off “the best year we’ve ever had,” per Dana White, perhaps they can find a way to bridge that gap with one of their former champions.


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The Co-Main Event. Handing out end-of-year awards and the best Tweets of 2020.

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Feeling good about it.




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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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