Rose Namajunas is a UFC champion once again.
At 28 years of age, Rose Namajunas became the youngest current UFC champion, dethroning Zhang Weili at UFC 261. Thug slept the former women's strawweight champion with a kick to the head followed up by punches before the referee stepped in and called the fight at the 1:18 mark in the first round.
Watch the knockout below:
Following the victory, Rose Namajunas was visibly quite emotional as she was presented with the UFC belt around her waist for the second time in her career. Namajunas became the first female fighter in the history of the UFC to lose a belt and regain it in the same division.
In the post-fight interview, Rose Namajunas shared an emotional moment with announcer and commentator Joe Rogan. She thanked God for helping her get through tough times and preparing her for the battle against Zhang Weili. An emotional Namajunas said:
"I did it again. But god did it man. I really just had to have faith in him and that's what got me through."
The fight went down in the co-main event of UFC 261 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 24, 2021.
What went down between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili at UFC 261?
Rose Namajunas remained on the outside of the Octagon as Zhang Weili took center stage early on. This was Weili's second title defense in two years, after going through Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 in March 2020 in what is inarguably the best fight in women's MMA history.
A few kicks and strikes were exchanged before Rose Namajunas caught Zhang Weili by surprise with the left high kick and dropped her to the ground. After landing some ground-and-pound on the former champ, Rose Namajunas was separated by referee Keith Peterson and was seen celebrating in joy.
In the post-fight interview, Rose Namajunas spoke about the politically-tinged exchanges that went down between her and Zhang Weili ahead of UFC 261. Thug clarified that it was never her intention to attack her opponent personally and that she respects every culture around the world. Namajunas explained:
"All that stuff that was in the media, it was not my intention to ever personally attack her as a person. It's just my history and my past, and that's it. I love all people, all culture, everybody in the world. As a matter of fact, with this, I wanna build MMA academies around the world. I think that's gonna be a solution to a lot of our problems around the world. So that's our plan."
Zhang Weili protested the stoppage and claimed the fight was stopped too early.