Though it took him a number of extra years to enter the skilled ranks, Namajunas will lastly make the bounce March 27 at Mountain Power MMA 23 (MTF 23) in Logan, Utah.
“I’m tremendous excited,” Namajunas, a featherweight fighter, just lately advised MMA Junkie. “It’s been a very long time coming for me, truly.”
The trail to an expert MMA gig wasn’t a straight line, however the journey started greater than twenty years in the past. At 6, Namajunas took his first taekwondo lesson from Nice Grandmaster Chom Son Cho in Milwaukee. Together with his 4-year-old sister alongside him, Namajunas discovered shortly that partaking in fight sports activities isn’t a straightforward job.
“(Cho) had us all line up in a row,” Namajunas stated. “… He went all down the road. He would have us line up shoulder-to-shoulder all the best way. He would go as much as us and punch proper in entrance of our faces, like an inch in entrance of our eyes. The thought was that you simply couldn’t blink when one thing is coming at you, so you might see, you already know? That blink: In case you blinked, you needed to go do 10 pushups in your knuckles. He simply did that for the entire class for the entire hour. We have been simply doing pushups till we figured it out.”
Namajunas continued with taekwondo for seven extra years. Discouraged by then-perceived health club politics, Namajunas walked away from formal coaching at 13 and have become a musician. He had his personal non-public piano studio and instructed greater than 40 college students.
In the meantime, Rose by no means stopped her pursuit of martial arts greatness and went on to grow to be a UFC champion in 2018. All of the whereas, Namajunas was impressed by his sister’s success.
“When she obtained on ‘The Final Fighter’ present, I assumed that was actually superior as a result of that was her likelihood,” Namajunas stated. “That was her massive break. She took that far. She took all of it the best way to a title shot. She misplaced that combat in opposition to Carla (Esparza), and from there, for some motive – I advised her as a result of I used to be truly at that combat; she was solely like 22 – I used to be like, ‘Rose, you’re solely 22. You’re so younger. You don’t even get your full grownup mind till you’re 26.’ That’s the primary factor, that in my thoughts was inspiring as a result of she was so younger and she or he was already on the pinnacle of the game.”
In recent times, Namajunas was referred to as again to his preliminary ardour. Seeing what his sister achieved, he thought stones have been left unturned by way of his personal potential. In any case, they each started on the similar start line. What would occur if he gave martial arts his finest attempt? He moved to Denver and started coaching in a quest to search out the reply.
“All my life, I’ve been a fighter in my coronary heart,” Namajunas stated. “I’ve had to make use of self-defense in actual conditions and stuff like that. Not solely that, I’ve been round it and watched it and discovered lots. As soon as I began to coach it, I began to carry out fairly (nicely) within the health club and I used to be like, ‘Effectively, if these guys are professionals and I’m doing it right here with them, I ought to simply attempt to commit myself and make a run for it.’”
Namajunas took his first newbie combat in March 2019 and misplaced a cut up resolution. Six months later, he returned and knocked out his opponent in 57 seconds. The efficiency boosted Namajunas’ confidence. The time to show professional was upon him.
Now 31, Namajunas is aware of his door is closing on a possible UFC run. Name him a long-shot. Namajunas received’t disagree with you. Nevertheless, if there’s an opportunity he could make it to the massive leagues, Namajunas is prepared to take it.
“Most individuals which are 30, yeah, they’re not going to make it to the UFC,” Namajunas stated. “The chances are in opposition to me. I actually do imagine in myself and I believe I can go actually, actually far if I’m simply doing what I’m doing proper now. We’ll see how far I can get, however I do have aspirations to go to the UFC and do every part that I can to get to the highest.”
In early March, the UFC made Rose’s third profession UFC title problem official. She’ll face Zhang Weili at UFC 261 on April 24 – 4 weeks after her brother fights Tyson Craig (0-0) in Utah. Nojus Namajunas predicts his surname will go two-for-two throughout that stretch.
“She’s going to complete her, dude,” Namajunas stated. “… (And) I’m going to go for the choke.”