Rose Namajunas says she has the skills to beat Weili Zhang at UFC 261

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Former UFC strawweight champion ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas thinks she holds a real threat to the current champ Weili Zhang and is confident in her skill set.


The former UFC strawweight champion wants to dethrone current titleholder Zhang Weili and reclaim the 115-pound title. Namajunas (9-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) takes on Weili (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 261, which takes place Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Rose Namajunas says she’ll be the champion

Rose Namajunas steps back into the Octagon for the first time since defeating Jessica Andrade last summer on Fight Island to earn this title shot against Zhang, who fights for the first time since her war with Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 last year. Namajunas enters this fight against the champion Zhang as the underdog, but she is confident that she has the skillset to get the job done.

It would mean that I’m right in what I believe, and that when I do my best, I am the best,” Namajunas told reporters at the UFC 261 pre-fight news conference. “It means if God wants me to be the champion, I’ll be the champion.”

Namajunas respects Zhang’s game but is not intimidated by the champion’s punching power.

“I think she has a lot of submission finishes in her early fights, so yes, she’s very well-rounded,” Namajunas said. “All it matters is that how it’s (Zhang’s punching power) going to be compared to me and I hit really hard.”

Speaking to TMZ Sports ahead of UFC 261, Rose Namajunas explained what skills she possesses that will give Zhang problems. For “Thug Rose,” the biggest things that she has gone into this fight are the way that she moves on her feet and having her mental game on her side.

“I think just my movement, the way that I move, the way that I think, and my fighting spirit. They’re all unique,” Namajunas said.

As far as what the game plan is against Zhang, who typically prefers to stand and trade, Namajunas said that her goal for her fight is the same every time she fights.

“My gameplan is the same everytime. I go in there and punch their face, take their back, and choke them out. It may manifest differnetly each time, but that’s my goal and that’s what I’m focused on,” Namajunas said.

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