NEW YORK — While three belts modified fingers Saturday night time at UFC 217, solely one of many new titleholders is a first-time champion.
Rose Namajunas has large plans on how you can use her new platform as girls’s strawweight champion after taking the title from Joanna Jedrzejczyk at Madison Square Garden.
“There’s a lot of negativity out there,” she mentioned after a first-round knockout of the long-reigning champion. “Everywhere you look it’s just negative all the time. I’m trying to just be that positive light as much as possible. I’m not perfect either, but maybe we’ll figure out a way to make this world a better place.”
The phrases appeared a bit misplaced coming from a girl who had savagely punched Jedrzejczyk till the referee stepped in to finish the bout.
Namajunas, nonetheless, doesn’t thrive on the violent and vitriolic points of combined martial arts.
“I said leading up to this fight that I feel it’s time for a new era in our sport,” she mentioned. “I think we have a great opportunity as athletes to be role models. I’m by no means perfect, but I think we can try. I used to fight with hate. I’ve had a lot of aggression in my past, but that’s just because I was hurt myself. I learned that love is such a more sustainable energy to draw from than hate.”
Namajunas got here to that conclusion via a journey of self-discovery. She emerged from a violent and badually abusive childhood that included her schizophrenic father being separated from the household to flourish as a combined martial artist.
She has been very open about her struggles with psychological well being and hopes the increase her profile receives from successful the belt can badist attain those that might not know the place to show for badist.
Namajunas, 25, additionally hopes to enhance the tradition amongst UFC fighters.
The three champions who misplaced on Saturday night time — Jedrzejczyk, Cody Garbrandt and Michael Bisping — all ratcheted up the rhetoric towards their opponents main as much as the occasion.
Namajunas doesn’t suppose that a part of the sport is important.
“There’s been a lot of trash-talking and things like that and people that aren’t being true to themselves or being honest,” Namajunas mentioned. “I don’t know, perhaps that’s simply what they really feel they should do to entertain folks, however I’m simply sick of it. I’m sick of all of the hate and anger and stuff like that happening. I really feel like we now have an obligation to attempt to be a greater instance.
”Martial arts is about honor and respect. It takes a number of braveness in that cage irrespective of who you might be. I simply need to try to ship an instance in that approach and the remainder of the world, too.”
There definitely was no love misplaced between Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw, former pals and teammates who met within the cage on Saturday night time.
Dillashaw’s win earned him the belt for the second time, however did little to settle his variations with Garbrandt, which lengthen to their households and training staffs.
“I still feel like he’s a piece of (expletive) teammate,” Garbrandt mentioned after dropping the belt by advantage of a second-round knockout. “I stand beside my facts. He lies still. Yeah, he won. Good for him. I’ll be back. I’m going to come with a vengeance and that belt is going to be mine. I don’t respect him as a person but as a fighter I give him respect in there.”
The two briefly exchanged phrases after the stoppage, with Dillashaw screaming in Garbrandt’s face. Dillashaw’s brother, who was working his nook, was escorted out of the world by safety after he appeared to confront Garbrandt within the cage following the combat.
“He’s been very offended by some of the things and accusations and the way that some of my really good friends that I thought were (still my friends) have treated me,” Dillashaw mentioned of his brother. “He’s an emotional guy. He loves me more than anybody I know.”
Garbrandt insists he’s nonetheless a greater fighter and simply received caught. He desires a rematch, although Dillashaw doesn’t suppose he has earned it.
Namajunas believes Jedrzejczyk will in all probability get one other shot, although she thinks they could each want a while off first.
Georges St. Pierre additionally captured a belt Saturday, changing into the fourth UFC fighter to win belts in two totally different weight courses, by choking out Michael Bisping within the third spherical of his comeback combat after a four-year hiatus.
St. Pierre appeared to point he wouldn’t defend the title at 185 kilos and as an alternative return to 170. UFC president Dana White insists St. Pierre will tackle interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker earlier than leaving the load clbad, however St. Pierre was transported to the hospital after the combat and didn’t attend the information convention.
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