Rose Namajunas fueled by flyweight debut loss ahead of UFC on ESPN 53: ‘It just motivated me so much more’

LAS VEGAS – Rose Namajunas is ready to snap her current losing streak and return to her winning ways.

The former UFC women’s strawweight champion is still in search of her first victory at 125 pounds after having lost a unanimous decision against Manon Fiorot in her divisional debut back in September. Although it was a setback for Namajunas (11-6 MMA, 9-5 UFC), she’s been using the defeat as fuel for her 2024 campaign to the UFC women’s flyweight title.

“After the Manon fight, I had to heal my pinky and that happened, but as soon as the fight was over I was like, ‘Man, that was so close. I could’ve won that fight if it was a little different here and there,'” Namajunas said. “Whatever. Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. I just had that taste of, ‘Man,’ I usually get down on myself after a loss, but it just motivated me so much more.

“I knew after the fight I wanted to get right back in there, but I had to heal my pinky and I had some personal stuff to figure out. It took me a little bit to kind of get those things in order, but as soon as I was ready, I was looking for a fight. I got offered a little earlier for this fight, but I wasn’t ready, but then I got offered March 23, and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s perfect.'”

Namajunas returns to the cage this Saturday in the main event of UFC on ESPN 53, which goes down at the UFC Apex. She takes on Amanda Ribas (12-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in a five-round, flyweight bout.

Namajunas likes the matchup and the challenges that Ribas presents. Not only is she excited to fight for her first win at 25 pounds, but the actual fight itself has her eager for her return.

“Just excitement because of how she fights, her energy, her skills, the fact that she’s top 10,” Namajunas said. “For some reason, I’m not ranked or whatever, even though I am pound-for-pound ranked. It’s super strange. I never paid attention to the rankings, but now I’m like, ‘It be nice to be ranked.’ So yeah, all those things combined make me excited to hear that name, but I was ready for anybody. I didn’t care who popped up.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 53.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie