Rose Namajunas' coach said that UFC president Dana White is wrong about her title shot intentions. Talking to BT Sports, White said that he "has heard" that Namajunas does not want to fight for the championship because she didn't enjoy the pressure of being a titleholder.
The moment happened when White was praising current women's UFC strawweight champion, Weili Zhang.
"I mean, her training videos are insane. She gets better and better every day," White said.
BT Sports reporter Caroline Pearce interjected, asking if Zhang's next title fight would be against former division's champion Namajunas. White then gave his answer that caused the current controversy.
"Do you know what? I'm hearing that Rose does not want a title shot. Rose does not want to fight for a title," White declared. "So let's see how that all plays out. So, we are looking at the rankings and how it plays out. It would play out as Weili versus Carla Esparza."
Moments later, ESPN's Ariel Helwani reported that White's statement about Namajunas was contested by the fighter's manager and fiancé, Pat Barry. Barry is a former UFC heavyweight.
"I asked Rose Namajunas' coach/fiancé, Pat Barry, about this. His response: 'That is absolutely not true. We absolutely want the title fight. Who would turn down a title fight? We just don't want to air this out publicly. If there was some confusion, they can call us to clear it up.'"
Weili Zhang's coach expected Rose Namajunas to be the next opponent
Weili Zhang's coach Pedro Jordao talked to MMA Fighting in November about his expectations for the current women's UFC strawweight champion's future. He believes that a matchup against Rose Namajunas would be the ideal fight for the division.
"It appears that her next fight will be against Rose, but nothing is set yet. Everything indicates that's the plan — and it makes sense, everybody knows that" said Jordao to MMA Fighting. "I think it is a good matchup for Weili Zhang style-wise. People say she is very strong, but we have seen how technical she is, too. I trust Weili and think she will be able to defeat Rose."
Namajunas held the women's UFC strawweight belt for one fight before failing to defend it against Jessica Andrade. In their rematch, Namajunas would avenge herself by winning the bout via split decision, but by then the belt was not under Andrade's possession anymore.
Immediately after winning the women's UFC title, Andrade would transfer the championship to Zhang in her first fight as the titleholder. Zhang won the bout against the Brazilian via TKO in the first round.Published 17 Dec 2020, 06:26 IST