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What’s next for contender Rose Namajunas? Title shot or another bout?

Author: Dann Stupp

Date: Dec. 11, 2015

LAS VEGAS – Rose Namajunas knocked off one of her division’s brightest prospects with a thoroughly dominant performance, so what’s next?

Namajunas (4-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who earned a fifth-round submission victory over tough-to-finish Paige VanZant (6-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in Thursday’s UFC Fight Night 80 headliner, fell short in a previous title fight.

Namajunas ran the gauntlet of “The Ultimate Fighter 20” in 2014 and made it to the reality show’s tournament final, where she ultimately suffered a loss to Carla Esparza with the inaugural UFC strawweight title on the line.

So what’s next?

“There’s a lot to think about right now,” she said after the UFC Fight Pass-streamed event, which took place at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. “I definitely – I feel like I would be ready for the title shot vs. whoever’s going to have it at the time, but I also want to get a little vacation time in and sit back and just enjoy the holidays.

“But if there’s an opponent for me, like before that – like one more and then the title (shot) or just the title (shot) right away, (that’s OK).”

Currently, champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) rules the division, and she’s slated for a rematch with Claudia Gadelha (13-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), likely in early 2016, according to UFC President Dana White. That could actually work out well for Namajunas.

Since her failed title bid a year ago, Namajunas said she’s made great strides in the gym, primarily by putting herself first and not letting outside voices influence her time in camp. It’s a reason she wouldn’t mind a little more time before she takes another crack at the 115-pound belt.

“There were some things I feel like I could improve if I had been more comfortable in certain spots,” she said. “It was definitely a great performance, but I feel like I can always improve.”

Check out the full video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 80, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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