Rose Namajunas Out Works Joanna Jedrzejczyk to Retain Title in Five Round War

'Thug' Rose Namajunas proved once again that she is the best strawweight in the world on Saturday night as she out worked Joanna Jedrzejczyk for a second consecutive time in the UFC 223 co-main event

‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas proved once again that she is the best strawweight in the world on Saturday night.

Following a stunning first round knockout to defeat Joanna Jedrzejczyk last November, Namajunas was asked to do it all over again as the two strawweights were matched up for a second time at UFC 223 in Brooklyn.

While Namajunas absolutely earned her spot atop the division, many wondered if perhaps she got the better of Jedrzejczyk after she suffered through a brutal weight cut the day before their first fight.

If the rematch proved anything it’s that Namajunas is truly the best 115-pound fighter on the planet as she had to gut out an absolute war for five rounds to get the job done this time around.

Namajunas looked just as composed in the rematch as she was in the first fight as she was connecting with her punches with better timing and accuracy than the former champion during the initial exchanges.

While Jedrzejczyk was very active on the feet she was struggling to find her range in the early going while Namajunas settled into a rhythm right away with her best strikes.

With less than 10 seconds to go in the round, Namajunas connected with a crushing left hand that rattled Jedrzejczyk and sent her stumbling backwards before the round ended.

Namajunas continued to get the better of the exchanges by the slightest of margins with her left hand landing consistently throughout the fight. A left hook was the same punch that hurt Jedrzejczyk before the finish in the first bout and she kept eating it over and over again on Saturday night.

Still, Jedrzejczyk never slowed down and continue to return fire, landing with better shots than in the opening round.

While the first two rounds were close it appeared that the reigning champion was ahead but Jedrzejczyk picked up the pace in the third by targeting Namajunas’ lead leg and absolutely battering it throughout the five minute session.

As Namajunas’ thigh started to change different shades of red, Jedrzejczyk had an even better visual target for her kicks. The damage done also allowed Jedrzejczyk to begin hitting to the head more often as Namajunas was slowing down thanks to that barrage of leg kicks.

As time ticked away in the fourth round, Jedrzejczyk was in a much more comfortable rhythm than earlier in the fight as she was finding a home for her best punches with Namajunas not moving with as much fluidity.

Still, Namajunas wasn’t afraid to fire back in the pocket and drawing Jedrzejczyk into those big exchanges seemed to favor her each and every time.

With only five minutes left to earn the victory in what was a very close battle throughout, Jedrzejcyzk’s face was a mess with her eyes both showing a lot of damage and nose trickling from her nose.

That didn’t stop her from throwing punches in bunches while Namajunas was countering with jaw-dropping accuracy and very good power behind all of her shots.

After a striking battle for most of the fight, Namajunas landed the first takedown of the fight with about 30 seconds remaining on the clock, although she didn’t do much with the position as Jedrzejczyk threw hammer fists until the final horn sounded.

The five round war led to the judges returning scores of 49-46 across the board, all in favor of Namajunas, who hands Jedrzejczyk back-to-back defeats

“The weight cut did kind of mess her up the first time, but I’m just better, man,” Namajunas said after the win.

With two victories over the former champion, Namajunas will put Jedrzejczyk in the rear view mirror now as she will likely await her next challenge from Brazilian buzz saw Jessica Andrade, who appears to be next in line for the title shot.

As for Jedrzejczyk, two losses in a row at strawweight may signify the end of her career at 115 pounds. The Polish fighter has long talked about exploring a move up to flyweight and this might be the catalyst that sends her to that division now.

Watch the full Rose Namajunas post-fight interview:

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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.