‘It Makes Me Train Harder’ – Rose Namajunas Reacts to Mike Tyson’s Compliments

Published 04/15/2021, 12:01 AM EDT


The former heavyweight champion of the world, and the greatest boxer of all time, Mike Tyson, is a big fan of MMA. To be more precise, he’s a big fan of former UFC women’s strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas.

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Namajunas is an amazing striker while also being great at submissions. She’s fighting to reclaim her belt at UFC 261 against the current strawweight champion, Zhang Weili. ‘Thug’ Rose appeared in an interview with Ariel Helwani for ESPN MMA to talk about various things like her brother’s debut in MMA and her opponent’s prowess ahead of her fight.

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Helwani brought a recent Mike Tyson quote to Namajunas’s attention. He asked, “Mike Tyson said that he thought that you’re gonna, these are my words, not his. He said something else like, you’re gonna steamroll Zhang Weili, have you seen this?”

She replied she had indeed seen the interview, to which Helwani asked how it felt to be complimented in such a manner by Mike Tyson.

It definitely makes me train harder, and it definitely motivates me. I love Mike Tyson. I think he’s great, one of my favorite fighters, so I think that’s just awesome,” she replied. Such high praise must have surely made her day.

Rose Namajunas and her second fight against Jessica Andrade

Namajunas took the long route to reach here. She was the strawweight champion of the world when she beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title. She defended her title once, but then lost it to Jessica Andrade’s spectacular knockout.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: Rose Namajunas battles Jessica Andrade in their strawweight fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020, on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Meanwhile, Andrade lost the title to Weili Zhang and faced Namajunas in her next fight. However, Rose looked comfortable in that bout and got the win via a deceptively close split decision. The fight was one of the most interesting ones on that fight card of UFC 251.

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It was her comeback fight after a year away from the sport, and similarly, now, this will be her first fight after 9 months. While ‘Magnum’ might be the favorite for this strawweight title contest, fans shouldn’t count Rose out. Mike Tyson surely didn’t.

Do you think Rose Namajunas can beat Weili Zhang?

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Aniket Awasthi

169 articles

Aniket Awasthi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. This STEM undergraduate combines an insatiable urge to write with his admiration for MMA and the UFC in general to enhance his journalism. He calls charismatic names like Chael Sonnen and 'The Count' Michael Bisping as his favorite fighters, but he is a great admirer of the rise of Israel Adesanya ever since he fought Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.

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