“She’s a true martial artist. She does every discipline and is very unique but, at the same time, she’s kind of a hybrid of a lot of the fighters I’ve fought in the past. So it’s an element of a little bit of everything I’ve seen before with maybe just a little bit of uniqueness of her own,” Namajunas explained.

“Some of her coaches say that she looks at her opponents and uses their strength to either best them or implement it into her own game. I feel as though I do the same thing, so it’s very intriguing to me because I’ve never fought anyone like that before. I feel like I do that better than anybody, so it’s going to be really exciting.”

WATCH UFC 261 EMBEDDED: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 

Namajunas is slightly less focused on the obvious things at stake — accolades, rankings, personal glory — and more attuned to the fact that she could have the unique opportunity that so few get: to redo life as the champ.

“I just had a lack of vision,” Namajunas explained of her time as the UFC strawweight champion from November 2017 to May 2019. “I think becoming the champ was the final destination, but I didn’t really have a clear vision as to what to do with it once I got it. I sort of got lost in that and sort of got anxious for things to be what they weren’t, and I got impatient and didn’t maintain gratitude. Those were some of the mistakes, and I learned a lot from it.”