Rose Namajunas once again shocked the betting odds this weekend with a clinical finish of Zhang Weili. After just 1:18 of the first round, Rose landed a perfectly timed switch kick that put the champs lights out before following up with strikes on the ground. Zhang initially protested the stoppage but upon watching the replay it was very apparent that the champion was no longer able to intelligently defend herself. in an extremely emotional post fight interview with Joe Rogan, Namajunas declared “i am the best” while holding back tears and after a performance like that it is hard to argue.
This is the second time in her career that Thug Rose has dethroned a seemingly untouchable champion, both times with impressive first round KOs showing that she really can put her nerves aside and show up on the big day. While i’m sure Rose’s mind is far from her next fight right now, it does leave the question of who is next?
Unlike the other women’s divisions in the UFC, there are a few exciting contenders in the straw-weight just waiting for the call for a title shot. Yan Xiaonan, Mackenzie Dern, Carla Esparza…all exciting names to see in the title picture. of course you also have the potential for a rematch with Zhang herself or possibly a trilogy bout with Joanna. Personally i would rather see a new challenger. Zhang has just been finished in round 1 and Joanna has already lost 2 title fights to rose leaving a third fight seeming some what unnecessary.
With Esparza and Xiaonan set to face off this may, it is very likely that the winner of that bout will be next in line for a shot at Rose. Mackenzie Dern recently claimed another win setting her up for a showdown with a top 5 opponent, possibly with former champs Zhang or Joanna. It is safe to say that the straw-weight division has a lot of exciting fights in the near future. Who if anyone can you see dethroning Rose?