At a pre-fight media day, former women's strawweight champion talked about her rermatch at UFC 251 on Saturday night vs. the woman who took her title, Jessica Andrade. Her usurper lost the belt in her first defense, to Zhang Weili; the rematch was originally scheduled for UFC 249 in April, but Namajunas withdrew for personal reasons including the loss of a family member to COVID-19.
“Obviously, the whole global pandemic is a tragedy,” she said, as transcribed by Nolan King and John Morgan for MMA Junkie. “At the same time, there’s been a lot of huge benefits I’ve found to this – not just with the fight week being a little bit different. I’ve really always been a social distancer just in general. I’ve really cut out a bunch of other things that I didn’t even know that I was doing that I didn’t want to do. It’s really been a huge perspective shifter for me.
“I can definitely see the positive impact it has on a lot of other people’s lives. Everyone I know is growing gardens and realizing the importance of knowing where your food comes from. That’s been huge. There’s been a lot of silver linings in this whole process.”
“I’ve been pretty calm and cool this whole time, just really confident in my preparation. I’m not worried as much as I usually am. … I think it’s just experience, time in, and just the preparation. It was a really good training camp.”
“I knew that there was a part of me that wanted to get back in there as soon as that happened. At the same time, I knew that I had to be 100 percent committed, and I had to be 100 percent interested because I was kind of getting bored with training. I was just not very inspired by anything. I knew that that’s just not a safe way to fight. Even as good as I am, I have to be interested. This is already not a safe sport, but if you’re not interested, it’s super dangerous.”