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Rose
Namajunas
experienced a wide array of emotions following her
loss to Carla
Esparza
at UFC
274
.

Initially there was defiance. “Thug” Rose appeared shocked when it
was announced that Esparza was the new strawweight champion
following a split-decision triumph in what was a forgettable bout,
and that was reflected in some of her comments at Saturday’s
post-fight press conference.

“I struck to the strategy. I felt as if I landed more shots. I even
took her down. None of her takedowns were significant or with any
control time,” Namajunas said. “I’d say she hit me with one good
punch. … I felt like I did the damage. I controlled the fight. I’m
proud of myself because I stuck to my strategy.

“I know that in all of Carla’s fights she just baits people in, and
she tries to get people to attack her. I’ve been in slugfests
before. I’ve gotten my nose broken. I’ve stood there and shed blood
in the octagon. I stuck to the strategy, and she didn’t really have
any offense. She was whiffing at air the whole time. So, I thought
I won.”

Namajunas and Esparza combined to land just 67 significant strikes
in the bout, and both were below 30 percent in striking accuracy.
Esparza made more effort to initiate wrestling, but landed just two
of 11 takedowns overall. Still, in the immediate aftermath,
Namajunas believed her offense was more substantial.

“I knew I was scoring. I knew I was touching her,” Namajunas said.
“There were times that I was missing, but I don’t know. I felt like
I was scoring.”

Over time, however, some of that defiance seemed to fade into
regret. In an Instagram post on Sunday, Namajunas apologized for
the performance that ended her second reign as 115-pound champ.

“Sorry to everyone, I f—ed up,” she wrote. “Definitely feel like
a s—y human, but this will make me a better [fighter]. Hats off
to Carla and thanks to everyone who’s been there for me.”

Namajunas is now 0-2 against Esparza, as she fell to “Cookie
Monster” via third-round submission in the UFC’s inaugural
strawweight championship bout at “The Ultimate Fighter 20” finale
in December 2014. While the rematch was too close to call, there
isn’t much demand for a trilogy, which UFC president Dana White
acknowledged.

“I don’t think anyone is clamoring for that rematch,” White said.
“We’ll have to figure something else out. Rose is one of the best.
She’s always gonna be there. We’ll see what happens.”


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