Weili Zhang is defending the women’s strawweight title this weekend at UFC 248 against former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but Namajunas says that title shot first went to her, but it was turned down.
“I think everyone else felt the same way, too,” Namajunas said on UFC Unfiltered (via Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). “I was even offered Weili at the time, but I just – at the time I was still dealing with a lot of my own (things), just getting my head right, and I hired a mental coach that’s helping me do a lot of different things. And so there was a lot of work that needed to be done. I wasn’t ready for that just yet. I didn’t even really know if I wanted to fight at that time anymore, just because I wanted to make sure that this is something that I wanted to do and I wasn’t just like, ‘Let’s have another fight just because I’m good at it.'”
Andrade defeated Namajunas in their first meeting after landing a violent slam, but Namajunas says some injuries have gotten better since that knockout loss.
“I got dropped on my head – I could have been paralyzed. It’s like, ‘Well, I wasn’t paralyzed, so why should I be paralyzed in fear if it didn’t happen?'” Namajunas said. “I should celebrate the fact that I’m walking around and it’s a miracle that my neck feels better than it’s ever felt in the past few years. Prior to that happening, I had a fracture in my neck, so it was hurting a lot – and after that, I feel great.”
UFC 249 takes place on Saturday, April 18 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.