After falling short in flyweight debut at UFC Paris, what’s next for Rose Namajunas?

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Paris- Fiorot vs Namajunas
Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Paris, we saw a pivotal matchup in the women’s flyweight division with potential title implications. Former strawweight champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas (11-6) was making the jump up to 125 to take on top contender Manon Fiorot (11-1).

I was really excited for this matchup and expected a very technical affair. However, something happened in the first couple of exchanges that really did play a factor in the fight. During one of the opening exchanges, Namajunas had her pinky completely dislocated preventing her from being able to close her first.

She was forced to fight southpaw and was still able to hold her own. However, the power and crispness of Fiorot was just too much for Namajunas especially without the use of her right hand. Thug Rose kept fighting, but the writing was on the wall at UFC Paris and she couldn’t quite overcome the obstacles. Fiorot won a clear decision furthering her case for a title shot at 125.

What’s next after UFC Paris?

There was definitely a size advantage for Fiorot on Saturday night. While Namajunas did a good job filling up to 125, you could just tell that she was the naturally smaller fighter. With that, she wasn’t able to throw with as much heat and it looked like Fiorot’s shots were just doing more damage.

Again, it doesn’t help Namajunas that she really didn’t have the use of her right hand throughout the fight. Thug Rose took to Instagram Live and stated that she’s staying at 125. She also completely dismissed the notion that she was too small for the weight class and the former UFC champion doubled down that she felt good in there.

So, now that she’s got her feet wet at flyweight, what’s next for the former champion. Well, I think if Valentina Shevchenko doesn’t win back the title in a couple of weeks at UFC Noche, I think a matchup between those two would be fantastic. They have a great relationship, but Namajunas admitted that she would fight Shevchenko if that’s the fight to make.

Alexa Grasso would also make for a great matchup if Grasso loses the belt. If neither of those fights work for the former champion, perhaps someone like a Taila Santos could make sense given where everyone is stacked up in the flyweight division.