“It’s a fight, not a beauty pageant!” That was Rose’s comment after cutting her hair, believe it or not,
but the strawweight champion had long golden hair back in 2015, but she decided to get rid of it to be
able to focus more on training.
Rose Namajunas is one of the most popular female fighters in the UFC right now. After reclaiming her
strawweight title at UFC 261 by knocking out Zhang Weili, Namajunas' stock has soared higher in the
The No. 3 women's pound-for-pound fighter will most likely challenge Weili in a rematch next. However,
a confident Carla Esparza is also looking forward to having a crack at the strawweight championship.
Ahead of her imminent third title defense, we decided to get you to know the “Thug”, but before diving
into the video, make sure you’re subscribed and leave a like and a comment and I’ll personally reply
back to you.
Rose was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 29, 1992, to Lithuanian parents. She was named Rose in
honor of her great-grandmother. Her parents left Lithuania in September 1991 and she was born a year
later. She has an older brother, Nous. Namajunas's father Arturas, who suffered from schizophrenia, left
the family when Rose was still young and died of pneumonia in Germany in 2008 when Rose was 16. Her
mother was a pianist, trained at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Namajunas grew up in
Milwaukee in a tough neighborhood, where she was a witness to violence from a young age. Her mother
worked a lot and her brother was only rarely home. Her neighborhood friends nicknamed her "Thug
Rose" because she was the only white girl among them and was the smallest, yet she was the toughest
one in their friend group. Namajunas has admitted to being a victim of child sexual abuse while
emphasizing that she does not want to speak about specific details. She graduated from Milwaukee High
School of the Arts, where she was an accomplished cross-country runner.
Martial arts training
Rose started practicing taekwondo at the age of 5. She earned her poom belt (junior black belt) at age 9.
After that, she went on to practice both karate and BJJ. While in high school, she started training in
kickboxing and mixed martial arts with Duke Roufus at Roufusport, and she was also a senior-
year wrestler at Milwaukee High School of the Arts.
Namajunas utilizes forward movement while pressuring opponents with jabs and high kicks. She is
known for her advanced technical striking and footwork, using a variety of angles and several creative
adjustments. After closing the distance, she will sometimes attempt to grapple and execute a
Namajunas began competing in MMA as an amateur in 2010. She trained under Greg Nelson
at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. She racked up a perfect amateur record of 4–0 with 2 wins by TKO
and 2 by decision. Both of the finishes came in the first round.
Invicta Fighting Championship
She made her professional debut against Emily Kagan at Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt on January 5,
2013. After two back-and-forth rounds, Namajunas was able to secure the victory via submission due to
a rear-naked choke in round three. The victory in her pro debut also earned her the Submission of the
In her second professional appearance, Namajunas faced Kathina Catron at Invicta FC 5: Penne vs.
Waterson on April 5, 2013. She won the fight by submission due to a flying armbar just 12 seconds into
the first round. This performance garnered Namajunas her second Invicta Submission of the
Namajunas fought fellow undefeated prospect Tecia Torres at Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg on July
13, 2013. Namajunas lost the fight by unanimous decision.
The Ultimate Fighter
On December 11, 2013, it was announced that Namajunas was signed by the Ultimate Fighting
Championship (UFC) along with 10 other strawweight fighters to compete on season 20 of The Ultimate
Fighter, which would crown the first-ever UFC strawweight champion. Namajunas was the fourth pick by
coach Gilbert Melendez. She defeated Alex Chambers by submission due to a rear-naked choke in the
preliminary round of the tournament.
In the quarter-finals, Namajunas faced Joanne Calderwood. She won the fight via kimura in the second
In the semi-finals, Namajunas faced Randa Markos. She again won the fight via kimura in the first round.
In the final of the tournament, she fought Carla Esparza on December 12, 2014, at The Ultimate Fighter:
A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale for the inaugural UFC Women's Strawweight Championship. She
lost the bout via rear-naked choke in the third round.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Despite losing in The Ultimate Fighter finale, Namajunas was awarded two seasons of $25,000 bonus
awards for Performance of the Season and Fight of the Season for her bout with Joanne Calderwood.
Namajunas was expected to face Nina Ansaroff on May 23, 2015, in a preliminary bout at UFC
187. Before the fight, Ansaroff missed weight by 4 pounds and was fined 20 percent of her fight
purse. The bout was scrapped entirely a couple of hours before the event, as Ansaroff was declared
medically unfit to compete due to illness. According to Ansaroff's camp, she contracted the flu the week
before, and the weight cut exacerbated the illness, forcing Ansaroff to abandon her weight cut early,
and ultimately withdraw from the fight. Though the fight could not take place, Namajunas was paid her
full fight purse (show- and win money).
Namajunas fought Angela Hill on October 3, 2015, at UFC 192. After some back-and-forth striking
exchanges on the feet, Namajunas took Hill down with a trip of a punch. As Hill stood up, Namajunas
quickly secured a rear-naked choke, submitting Hill in the first round.
Namajunas faced Strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in
New York on November 4, 2017. She came in as a big underdog against the undefeated champion.
Namajunas, in what was regarded as a huge upset, won by KO in the first round to be crowned the
new UFC Women's Strawweight Champion. ] The win also earned Namajunas her second Performance of
the Night bonus award. This was Namajunas's first knockout victory in her professional career (2 TKO
wins as an amateur). At the UFC 217 post-fight press conference, Namajunas stated that she intended to
use her champion status as a platform to spread awareness of the mental illness.
In the first defense of her title, Namajunas faced Jędrzejczyk in a rematch that took place on April 7,
2018, at UFC 223. She won the fight by unanimous decision. Namajunas spent the remainder of the year
recovering from a lingering case of spinal stenosis from a C6 vertebral compression fracture, symptoms
of which manifested while training with Valentina and Antonina Shevchenko in 2017 and had intensified
during training camp for UFC 223.
In her second title defense, Namajunas faced Jéssica Andrade in the main event at UFC 237 on May 11,
2019, in Andrade's home country of Brazil, in what would be Namajunas's first MMA fight outside the
United States. Namajunas lost the fight by KO via a slam in the second round. The fight earned her
the Fight of the Night award.
Second reign as strawweight champion
Namajunas faced Zhang Weili for the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship on April 24, 2021,
at UFC 261. She won the fight by knockout early in the first round after landing a head kick, claiming
the UFC Women's Strawweight World Champion for the second time. Namajunas became the first
female fighter to lose and regain a UFC Championship belt. The win earned Namajunas a Performance of
the Night bonus award.
Namajunas is a Christian and an anti-communist. Before her bout against Chinese fighter Zhang Weili,
Namajunas spoke of the history of communist oppression in her ancestral homeland Lithuania and
mentioned the documentary The Other Dream Team as an inspiration. She said the documentary gives a
"good idea as to what my family had to go through, the reason I'm in the United States today, the
reason that I do mixed martial arts, all of that stuff", and stated it is a reminder that it is "better dead
than red". She said that she viewed her fight with Zhang as symbolizing a fight between communism and
democracy, saying that "Weili is red" and "represents [communism]" due to her being a Chinese person,
while she will be "fighting for freedom", relating it to her family history under the former USSR regime in
Lithuania. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, she doubled down on these comments, alleging "[Zhang]
may be told what to say". She also stated that she was not sure what Zhang's personal beliefs about the
political regime in her country were. [ Namajunas clarified that her comments were not directed
personally at Zhang, and instead attributed her decision to speak on this topic in part to her mental
struggles and PTSD. Zhang later said she didn't take offense to these comments by Namajunas,
dismissing them as "[making] no sense". In describing her background and motivation for fighting,
Namajunas stated "I’ve got the Christ consciousness, I’ve got Lithuanian blood and I’ve got the American
Namajunas is the fiancée and training partner of former Glory and UFC heavyweight Pat Barry, who is 13
years her elder. Namajunas and Barry met at Duke Roufus' gym, where Barry started training after losing
his home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while Namajunas started training there during high school. He
claims he fell in love with Namajunas the first time he saw her. In a December 2014 interview, Barry said
that he and Namajunas were dating "for almost five years now", while Namajunas felt like it was "two or
three years". The couple got engaged in 2014.