Rose Namajunas knows she’s ‘the most complete fighter’ Joanna Jedrzejczyk has ever faced

Rose Namajunas has more weapons than anybody the strawweight champion has faced yet

Rose Namajunas has never fought out of the spotlight.

Ever since her debut in mixed martial arts, the 25-year old mixed martial arts prodigy has been competing on the biggest stages while facing stiff competition that would have probably intimidated most fighters.

But if there’s one thing for certain, Namajunas isn’t like most fighters.

She handled the expectations heaped on her shoulders and still went out and put on a number of impressive performances including a run through “The Ultimate Fighter” season 20 tournament that earned her a title shot in only her fourth professional bout.

Namajunas came up short that night but she’s learned a lot since then including the mental toughness necessary to know what it takes to be a champion in the UFC. She’s fallen down and gotten back up numerous times and with each rebirth she’s added new weapons to her arsenal.

That’s why Namajunas is so confident that this is finally her time to shine and why she believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that she’s going to present the biggest problem that strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has faced since winning the title six fights ago.

“I’m definitely the most complete fighter she’s ever faced,” Namajunas told the Fight Society podcast this week. “I have that going into it. I have the previous title fight experience going into it. I have a lot of things going for me. It all really comes to do to desire and want and what is the reasoning behind what I’m doing and when I have those things in line, I snap into myself.

“I become something that is just a work of art and it’s hard to touch.”

Now make no mistake, Namajunas isn’t discounting the danger that Jedrzejczyk represents as the longest reigning strawweight champion in history.

Jedrzejczyk is an intimidating force of nature inside and outside of the Octagon and that’s helped her beat a slew of top contenders while virtually wiping out everybody in the top five rankings at 115 pounds — some of them more than once.

Her most recent win came against Brazilian terror Jessica Andrade, who has looked virtually unstoppable in every other strawweight fight except for the night she ran into Jedrzejczyk earlier this year.

“I think she proved that she’s the best. Jessica [Andrade] really didn’t know what to do against her. Her game plan was ‘I’m just gonna take everything in the face and keep going forward’ and that obviously doesn’t work,” Namajunas said.

“Every time Joanna fights, I learn something new and we can see that over her career you can notice a slight change in her style of striking. She has a little bit more movement than just stand in front of somebody and set up her super crazy overhand rights that would come from hell. Nowadays she kind of picks you apart and it’s more methodical I think.”

Those are all lessons that Namajunas has studied going into their fight at UFC 217 in New York and she hopes to unleash that against Jedrzejczyk when they finally meet in the Octagon.

Namajunas truly believes she has all the tools necessary to become champion but perhaps her greatest weapon will be the power of self-belief that she can get the job done. Watching so many past opponents stumble and fall against Jedrzejczyk even before a single punch has been thrown is a tendency Namajunas has witnessed again and again during the champion’s title reign.

Namajunas may not be able to guarantee how the fight will play out on Nov. 4 and she can’t explain in detail how she’ll beat Jedrzejczyk that Saturday night. The only thing she knows for certain is that she won’t already be defeated walking into the Octagon against Jedrzejczyk and that’s a promise.

“I think that they almost lose the fight before it even starts,” Namajunas said. “You see that with all the greatest in the world or all the greatest of all time. They all have this intimidation factor and it’s for a reason. It’s not just oh they play mind games. They can smell it off of them, they’re not joking around. I think that a lot of the opponents she’s faced, not all of them, but they’re afraid of her and it shows.

“So that’s what we’re working on, just making sure that I’m ready. So [there’s] nothing that she can do — we’re just looking forward to a good ass fight.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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