Rose Namajunas thinks she would have ‘crashed some cars’ had she won the title at as young a age as Jon Jones.


Rose Namajunas was in the first encounter with Carla Esparza, who was The Ultimate Fighter 20.. She was defeated by three of her opponents, and then Esparza finished her off in the final.

Now 29 Namajunas, in her second stint as champion, looks back on how far she has come. She isn’t certain she was prepared for the responsibility of UFC gold. She cites the youngest champion in modern UFC history as evidence of that.

“Had I won that fight, who knows where I would be,” she said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “I was going to be youngest champion, like, younger than Jon Jones. Not definitely, but I can only imagine that with winning a fight like that at that point in my life, I probably would have crashed a few cars, or been doing all kinds of bad things. My life probably would have been way more out of control.

“Joanna [Jedrzejczyk] probably would have whipped my ass.”

At UFC 274, Namajunas makes a return to the Esparza matchup six decades after suffering a career blow on reality TV. She said it’s her opportunity to revenge a loss but that she isn’t driven solely by how much satisfaction she would receive by reverseing the result.

After all, Namajunas has the former champion to thank for the journey that’s reunited them.

“I wouldn’t go back and change anything for nothing,” Namajunas said. “That fight was the best thing that probably happened to me in my whole career. All of my losses have done wonders for me. But that one in particular, there was a lot of information that I downloaded.”

Early in her career, Namajunas said her personal and professional life was far less stable. Namajunas didn’t know how to prepare for big fights, strategize and keep her mind sharp.

The reality TV show documented

Namajunas’ traumatic childhood. She said that she was also “rebellious” as a child and didn’t take her life seriously. This manifested itself in the decisions she made in that period of her life.

“Without getting into too much detail, I’ve been a partier since I was really young,” Namajunas said. “I won’t do it .”

By the time she got serious about fighting, the champ said she drew a line about her bad habits. Eventually, she completely cut them out of her life.

“It just got really dangerous,” she said. I received a number of wake-ups. You get out of a situation and you go, ‘Wow, I could have died, or somebody else could have died,’ or really bad stuff. Not everybody’s fortunate enough to have that moment of clarity to be like, ‘OK, I need to stop messing around here, because not only is my life in danger, but other people’s as well.’

“Since I was 13 years old, I was drinking and doing all kinds of stuff, and I stopped, I want to say the last time I had a hard drink was my last amateur fight, and then I got super wasted and I woke up the next morning and there kind of, I was like, I was fighting. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I could have really gotten hurt. This .'”

behavior is unacceptable.

The loss to Esparza was another wake-up call that turned things around. She was only a teenager when she set out to become a world champion.

” I have many facets of my personality. But the fighter side of me, the ego, or whatever it is that makes you a fighter or whatever that means to them, keeps me in control.” She said. It’s a waste of time .”

if there’s nothing to lose.

Namajunas now is six years younger than Jones when he was champion. There have been many setbacks for her, with the most significant being her loss of the title. But they’ve been largely limited to the octagon.

” The difference in the first title reign is she believes that now, I am more solid and I feel more thankful for everything. “I feel more grounded in my life and am extremely grateful for all .”

Namajunas has a great history with second chances. She beat the woman who took her belt, Jessica Andrade, and defeated Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili in rematches. That is where maturity plays an important role. The champ learns her lessons.

“The reason I win those rematches, or at least a good contributing factor in it is, I turn the page and I know it’s a new fight,” she said. “I learn from my experience, but I continue to move forward, knowing that my opponent can do anything .”