Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas’s brother Nojus Namajunas will soon be making his Pro MMA debut.
Rose Namajunas isn’t the only one in her family with a massive fight coming up. The former UFC strawweight champion’s older brother, Nojus, is set to make his pro-MMA debut next week. Although it took him a few more years to enter the professional ranks, Namajunas will finally make the jump on March 27 at Mountain Force MMA 23 (MTF 23) in Logan, Utah.
“I’m super excited,” Namajunas, a featherweight fighter, recently told MMA Junkie. “It’s been a long time coming for me, actually.”
Nojus Namajunas talks about his early fighting days
Nojus began his combat sports journey on the same day as his younger sister, former UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. The path to a professional MMA gig wasn’t a straight line, but the journey began more than two decades ago. At 6, Namajunas took his first taekwondo lesson from Great Grandmaster Chom Son Cho in Milwaukee. With his 4-year-old sister alongside him, he learned quickly that partaking in combat sports isn’t an easy task.
He continued with taekwondo for seven more years. Discouraged by then-perceived gym politics, Namajunas walked away from formal training at 13 and became a musician. He had his own private piano studio and instructed more than 40 students.
Meanwhile, Rose never stopped her pursuit of martial arts greatness and went on to become a UFC champion in 2018. All the while, Namajunas was inspired by his sister’s success.
“When she got on ‘The Ultimate Fighter show, I thought that was really awesome because that was her chance,” he said. “That was her big break. She took that far. She took it all the way to a title shot. She lost that fight against Carla (Esparza), and from there, for some reason – I told her because I was actually at that fight; she was only like 22 – I was like, ‘Rose, you’re only 22. You’re so young. You don’t even get your full adult brain until you’re 26.’ That’s the main thing, that in my mind was inspiring because she was so young and she was already at the pinnacle of the sport.”
At just 2-1, Rose joined the UFC in 2014 as part of The Ultimate Fighter season 20 – the season that introduced the strawweight to the promotion. The finals of the tournament saw the finalists competing for the inaugural belt, thus pitting “Thug” against the seasoned veteran, Carla Esparza.
Esparza would go on to submit the prospect in the third round via a rear-naked choke. Three years later and Namajunas rose to superstardom by knocking out the woman to dethrone Esparza, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
“Most people that are 30, yeah, they’re not going to make it to the UFC,” he told MMA Junkie. “The odds are against me. I really do believe in myself and I think I can go really, really far if I’m just doing what I’m doing right now. We’ll see how far I can get, but I do have aspirations to go to the UFC and do everything that I can to get to the top.”
On the other hand on April 24 at UFC 261, Rose gets a chance to take but the title opposite current champion, Zhang Weili.
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