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Tatiana Suarez calls Rose Namajunas’ flyweight move ‘crazy,’ bummed they can’t fight

Tatiana Suarez has no grudge against Rose Namajunas, but she wants to test herself against the best UFC fighters in the world.

Suarez’s dream to challenge the two-time UFC strawweight title took a hit recently with a report of Namajunas’ move up to the flyweight division to face Manon Fiorot at UFC Paris in September. Around the same time, Suarez announced her move back to strawweight after returning from a long injury layoff to compete at 125 pounds.

“It’s really the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” Suarez said on The MMA Hour. “I’ve been wanting to fight her. Because I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m back to 115 – maybe I could fight Rose,’ and it’s like, she’s going back to 125. I’m like, crazy.”

What does Suarez make of the timing?

“I think she totally dodged me,” she laughed. “No, I’m messing. Not at all. I think this was her plan all along. I wouldn’t even say that if I thought that.

“Whenever I say I want to fight her, it’s not because I want to go beat her up, or something like that, I don’t like her. I just think she’s such a good fighter. Like, I’ll watch her and I’m like, amazed because how great she is.”

Namajunas’ move to flyweight comes more than one year after after she lost the strawweight title to Carla Esparza in a rematch of a 2014 meeting for the inaugural title that Esparza won. Namajunas and her longtime partner and corner Pat Barry were widely criticized for their fight strategy in a bout very light on action over 25 minutes, though she said she was satisfied with her performance.

For Suarez, the desire to face Namajunas hasn’t dimmed.

“I’m thinking, ‘Well, I want to fight the best of the best,’” she said. “I wanna fight the best people, because obviously that means that I’m the best when I beat them. Or even if I don’t beat them, I still shared the cage with an amazing mixed martial artist.

“It’s all about the competition for me. It’s not about wins, losses, nothing like that. It’s about competition, testing myself – that’s the stuff that I thrive on. I do it every day in the gym.”

Suarez has had her share of challenges in training. Several serious neck, back and knee injuries sidelined her for four years as she neared title contention. She returned in February as a flyweight and dominated Montana De La Rosa en route to a submission win.

The competitive fire Suarez feels toward Namajunas starts in the gym.

“I always think that [I don’t have to be the best] when I go into my practice, but then I’m still the best in the room, or whatever it might be,” she said. “But I’m thinking like, even if I wasn’t ... I always want to win in practice, too. Whenever I see someone that might challenge me, that’s the person that I want to go with the most. Because I want to be the best.

“If someone is gonna give me a hard time, like I wanna go with them, you know what I mean? Because I know that’s gonna make me better. I put so much pressure on myself, even in practice. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. ... But, yeah, a lot of people tell me I am the best when I go to them after, and I know it, and that’s one of the things that kept pushing me through the dark times where I felt like, man, this, it’s really hard.”

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