There’s a new queen in the strawweight division, and Jessica Andrade wants a shot at her.
Rose Namajunas won the UFC 115-pound championship with a shocking first-round knockout over Joanna Jedrzejczyk last Saturday at Madison Square Garden, and former title challenger Jessica Andrade didn’t see that coming.
“It was very surprising,” Andrade told MMA Fighting. “I didn’t imagine her winning, but it’s like I always say: every fight is different. Joanna probably wasn’t having a good day and Namajunas went there to win the belt and beat Joanna, and she did it.”
Jedrzejczyk was victorious in her eight UFC bouts ahead of her title defense against Namajunas in New York, and “Bate-Estaca” says the champion was overconfident at UFC 217.
“She definitely underestimated Namajunas,” Andrade said. “She got in there as it was just another fight, that it would be easy. She was more aggressive, but she forgot that Namajunas is taller than her previous opponents, like me and ‘Claudinha’ (Gadelha), and has a bigger reach, and that’s how Namajunas found the opening. Namajunas trained for that and did a great job.”
“I was rooting for Namajunas to win,” she continued. “When I saw her going down the first time, I said ‘damn, this will be good.’ When Namajunas dropped her the second time and knocked her out, I said ‘I can’t believe it.’ It was like a World Cup game, you know? Everybody screaming and celebrating because it’s easier now for the division to move and we have another opportunity to fight for the belt again.”
Although Andrade doesn’t see Namajunas as an easy fight, she believes that having a new champion in the division means a quicker path to a title fight, instead of waiting for a rematch with Jedrzejczyk after their one-sided bout.
“I think it’s easier with Rose as the champion because you have new match-ups for the belt,” Andrade said. “I don’t believe the UFC will give Joanna a rematch because it makes no sense. She lost by knockout in the first round. (Jose) Aldo and Ronda (Rousey) lost like that and there was no rematch. I don’t think the UFC will make it.”
“(Namajunas) is a tough opponent, that’s why she beat the champion, but I think that finding the timing and distance, I can get in and knock her out,” she continued. “I can’t let her do what Joanna did to me. I have to find the best timing and distance. If the fight goes to the ground, I can submit her as well. Namajunas has a good ground game, so I can’t let her take my back or get on top (laughs).”
Jedrzejczyk wants an immediate rematch against Namajunas, but Andrade sees a difference scenario: Andrade vs. Jedrzejczyk 2 in 2018, with the Brazilian holding the belt.
“I thought about this already and it will definitely happen if Joanna doesn’t move up to flyweight,” the Brazilian said. “The UFC would definitely do this rematch. We would be in different roles, and I’d show her how a champion should behave. She was rude, aggressive, mad, and that’s not nice. I’ve met her before and she was more pleasant, nicer, helped people. She became a completely different person after she became champion.”