Rose Namajunas shocked the world with her first-round TKO win over former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217, but training partner Valentina Shevchenko wasn’t surprised.
Although some are predicting that the Polish striker will bounce back from the loss when she faces “Thug Rose” in a rematch at UFC 223, Shevchenko thinks their second meeting will play out a lot like their first.
“I do not think it will be a different result,” Shevchenko told MMA Fighting after considering the rematch between Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk.
“Of course, it will be different because Joanna will prepare herself stronger, but at the same time, Rose will prepare stronger as well. I expect it to be a very hard fight, but I think the result will be the same.”
Shevchenko has three victories over Jedrzejczyk from their Muay Thai days. Asked if she felt Jedrzejczyk improved from any of the losses that she handed her, “Bullet” underlined what a good champion Jedrzejczyk had been, but insisted that Rose would remain at the top of the strawweight bracket.
“In every fight any fighter has, they learn from the experiences that they have. Joanna is a very good fighter and she is very strong and she showed that to everyone by being champion for a few years. This is Rose’s time now. I really think she will be a very good champion at strawweight for a long time,” she said.
During a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Namajunas and Pat Barry insisted that training with Shevchenko was one of the best things that they had done en route to claiming the title. Shevchenko took a lot from the experience too and lauded Namajunas and Barry as “true martial artists”.
“I feel very happy that it was so good for both us and it was glad to be a part of that victory. Not only am I happy, but my coaches and my sisters are so happy that Rose is champion because we tried to help as much as we could,” she said.
“They are very good people; true martial artists. Like me, Rose started martial arts at a very young age. When you are doing something for a long time and you’re moving towards your goal, and then you gain it, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Shevchenko expects that she and Namajunas will someday join forces again.
“We will be training together again in the future. Not for this fight, but I know we will meet in the future and have our training.”