UFC 201: Karolina wary of Rose Namajunas, plans to fight Joanna at MSG
Exclusive interview with UFC's Karolina Kowalkiewicz, before her upcoming fight against Rose Namajunas at UFC 201.
While the world is talking about UFC 202, the highly anticipated bout between Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley is just a couple of days away. UFC 201 boasts of some exciting fights; while Ian McCall’s fight has been scrapped, with Scoggins failing to make weight, the card will be headlined by two of the best welterweights on the planet.
The other highly anticipated bout is between one of the most dangerous 115’ers in ‘Thug’ Rose, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz – who herself can be devastating on her day. This fight is also important for Rose Namajunas – if Rose manages to beat Karolina, she will find herself on the fast lane for a title shot. However, the fight will be anything but easy for the former title contender, who is currently on a three fight win streak.
Contrasting styles – Karolina faces her toughest test to date
Karolina is currently undefeated in the UFC, after making an impressive debut against Randa late last year. Karolina is known for her impressive striking, and her background in Muay Thai makes her a tough opponent for any strawweight.
“I never feel any pressure because I love it. I train my heart out, and I’m happy. So I don’t feel any pressure”, Karolina told us in an exclusive interview. Karolina defeated Randa Markos and later, Heather Jo Clark to notch up two victories.
However, Rose Namajunas poses her toughest challenge yet, as ‘Thug’ Rose herself is just a fight or two away from facing the strawweight champion. Rose is an aggressive fighter, and constantly pushes the pace while closing the distance. With Karolina’s background, Rose’s game plan would be fairly simple – to close the distance and use her effective grappling to catch Karolina with a submission.
4 out of Rose’s 5 victories came via submission, so Karolina is wary of the threat Rose poses on the ground. When asked what she thought about Rose, Karolina said, “I think she’s a really great fighter. She’s a complete fighter; she’s really young so she learns fast. She has a great stand-up game, amazing wrestling and she has very good BJJ skills. So she’s a tough opponent.”
The strawweight division is a shark tank, with the likes of Claudia and Rose Namajunas being the perennial title contenders. Karolina knows that she has to go through multiple dangerous fighters, but told us that she’s up for the challenge. “I think the strawweight division is very, very strong. I like it; I want to fight with the best. So, for me it’s great.”
Karolina previously fought just a couple of months ago, and when asked about why she decided to fight again so soon, she told us that it was a conscious decision on her part. “In past, I’ve had problems with my health and I couldn’t fight too often, but now I am very happy as I can fight all the time (laughs).”
When asked about how she plans to negate Rose’s ground game, Karolina said that while she has a plan, she cannot disclose it just yet. “I can’t tell you this (laughs). I have a great plan in mind but this is something I can’t tell you. But, I think this will be a really great fight between us.”
Karolina aiming to fight JJ at MSG, talks about fighting at 115
The strawweight champion and fellow Polish fighter, Joanna has been one of the most dominant females in the company. JJ recently defeated Claudia during the TUF finale, and Karolina said her aim is to fight Joanna at MSG for the title.
Karolina also competed in the flyweight division in KSW, winning the KSW Flyweight Championship. When asked about which weight class she found most comfortable, Karolina told us that 115 was her weight class. “I think 115 is my division, because my normal weight is 125.”
You can catch UFC 201: Lawler vs. Woodley at 7:30 AM on Sunday, 31st July, 2016 live & exclusive on Sony SIX & Sony SIX HD