The UFC boss reported that Rose doesn’t want the pressure of being a champion and has declined the agreement planned for the first quarter of 2021.
Namajunas’ fiancé and coach Pat Barry has strongly denied Dana’s comments, releasing a statement insisting the former Strawweight champion is definitely interested in a title fight against Zhang. “That is absolutely not true – we absolutely want the title fight,” Barry said. “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.”
Rose did make both a surprising and unique post-fight interview after losing her title to Jessica Andrade. In it, she seemingly expressed relief at getting shut of the women’s championship.
We are constantly reminded that this is the place for the best of the best and she seemingly has no desire to be at the top of the pile.
We saw a similar situation with Robert Whittaker declining a title fight with Adesanya earlier this year, although this was more of a delay than a complete decline. We have seen a reinvigorated Robert since losing his belt and he rightly wants to ensure he gets back to his best before going after the title once again. I am not sure how Rose goes forward in this situation, should Dana to be believed.
She originally won the title in emphatic fashion against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217, with the (up to then) unshakable champion tapping due to strikes. Rose would then defeat Joanna once again, defending the belt this time by decision at UFC 223.
So, who is telling the truth?
If it is Dana, then the simple question is should Rose be given the opportunity to fight in the UFC at all, if she has no desire to reign over the division?
If it is Rose then the only question is what date is the fight going to be?