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Rose Namajunas reacts to Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s retirement: ‘There’s definitely lots of gratitude toward her’

The rivalry between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of the most important in the history of the UFC strawweight division, in many ways serving as a changing of the guard.

Following her UFC 275 stoppage loss to Zhang Weili in June, Jedrzejczyk announced her retirement from the sport. Namajunas, who stopped Jedrzejczyk for the title at UFC 217 in November 2017 and defeated her in a rematch at UFC 223, gave her reaction on Jedrzejczyk turning the page.

“I’ve always been grateful for everything she’s done for the sport, for my career as far as elevating me, and pushing me, as she was the standard for what I’ve been chasing for many years,” Namajunas told MMA Fighting. “There’s definitely lots of gratitude toward her.

“Obviously, we’ve had our rivalry, and there’s been times where all I wanted to do was punch her in the face, and now to see everything come full circle, I’m very happy for her. I want only the best for her, and for her to just be happy in life. I hope that she knows that her career was amazing and that it inspired many people.”

Namajunas recently partnered up with Polaris for the Polaris RZR Sunday Stroll content series. Namajunas, along with former UFC featherweight and current BKFC fighter Chad Mendes, boxing great Roy Jones Jr., and former NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. The video is expected to drop in early September on the Polaris RZR YouTube page. She recently told MMA Fighting that a move up to flyweight isn’t out of the question moving forward after she plans to “lift a lot of weights” beginning in the fall.

After beginning her career at 14-0, including a UFC strawweight title win via second-round TKO of Carla Esparza at UFC 185, Jedrzejczyk went 2-5 in her final seven octagon appearances. The 34-year-old had five successful title defenses before the two losses to Namajunas, and also challenged for the flyweight title where she dropped a decision to current champ Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 231 in December 2018.

Jedrzejczyk’s decision loss to Weili in their first meeting at UFC 248 in March 2020 is widely considered the greatest women’s fight of all-time, and one of the best fights in the history of the sport, overall.

So when Jedrzejczyk announced she was calling it a career, Namajunas wasn’t all that surprised considering the resumé she put together throughout her career.

“I felt like she had already accomplished so much,” Namajunas said. “She could’ve even called it before that but I know she’s such a warrior that she just loves fighting.

“Whatever makes her happy, I’m happy to see that.”

Watch Namajunas’ ride on the Polaris RZR Pro R with UTV off-road racing champion RJ Anderson below.

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