Rose Namajunas opens up about her legacy ahead of the UFC 274 fight

Rose Namajunas spoke to members of the media while preparing for her UFC 274 fight with Carla Esparza.

UFC Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas gears up for her next title defense against former champion Carla Esparza. This is a replay of The Ultimate Fighter season 20 finale in which Esparza was crowned the division’s first champion. Now that Namajunas are on top, this rematch could be a defining moment for the champion. She spoke a bit about her thoughts on legacy during the UFC 274 media day.

“I used to hate the term legacy or when people talked about it, but I think I have a different perspective on what it really means and it’s something that’s a very fascinating subject,” she explained. “It definitely adds a little element, like motivation and my training and like, wow, looking at where I’m from and looking at what’s available and possible in front of me. But really, I just focus on the present and focus on doing my best, and then it’s really like, let’s see what happens when I do my best.”

Namajunas is solely focused on her fight with Esparza at this point, but she still wants to prove herself to the doubters. She has held the 115-pound title twice, with two total title defenses. Her predecessor Jędrzejczyk, on the other hand, has five title defenses under her belt, but has not been able to conquer the gold since her defeat in 2017. Namajunas believes she still has work to do to be considered the all-time best strawweight champion.

“If you’re a fan, a great ride awaits. I think what I’m seeing is that I’m clearly the best, of course it’s just a question of being the greatest in the division ever and I think that’s a big step in that direction for me.” she said . “And that is the big test. I think everyone thinks of Joanna when they think of straw weights [Jędrzejczyk] I think that’s probably the most, you know, just her during her time. She came at a time when the level of the competition didn’t even come close to her. I guess what I want to do is try to differentiate myself because I’m clearly the best, but I think maybe in the last fight it was pretty close and you know what I’m saying? So I really work my butt off to make sure I can put that distance between all of us.”

UFC 274: Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje takes place live from the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ on Saturday, May 7, 2022. Follow along with FanSided MMA on-site for all your news and highlights. Rose Namajunas opens up about her legacy ahead of the UFC 274 fight

John Verrall

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