Rose Namajunas believes her title fight loss to Carla Esparza for the inaugural strawweight belt helped her in the long run.
Namajunas and Esparza made the finals of TUF 20 which saw the inaugural strawweight champion be crowned and at the time, Namajunas was just 2-1 as a pro while Esparza was 9-2 and the experience paid off as Esparza won by third-round submission.
After the loss, Namajunas went 4-1 before beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a stunning upset to win the belt. Esparza, meanwhile, lost the title in her next fight for Jedrzejczyk, but now, as Namajunas has reclaimed the title and Esparza is the number one contender a rematch will be next. For Namajunas, she admits that loss was huge for her
“Man I just had to stop being an a**hole [laughs],” she said on the UFC’s Run It Back promo (h/t Sportskeeda). “No I mean, not that, but just like be, have self-awareness you know what I mean like, I was just kinda floating through life and just no direction with anything. I needed a piece of the humble pie, ya know.”
Part of the reason why the loss benefited her was due to the fact how young she was. Had she won the belt, she would’ve just been 22 and been the youngest UFC champion in history. Her next fight would’ve been against Jedrzejczyk, who “Thug” admits she wasn’t ready for at the time.
Rose Namajunas Explains How She Benefited From Carla Esparza Loss
“I guess Joanna would have been right had I won that fight, if, I was emotionally unstable, but I lost that fight and I, you know, learned how to, I’ve matured. “I mean I was like, what…22? Twenty-two, I mean I was going to be two years younger than Jon Jones becoming a champion of the UFC.”
The loss ended up being a good thing for Rose Namajunas as she is now a two-time strawweight champion and now has a chance to right the wrong and beat Esparza in her next fight.