Namajunas baffled by UFC 274 decision: 'I stuck to the strategy'

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

When the final horn sounded, Rose Namajunas was confident she had done enough to retain the UFC strawweight title in her rematch against Carla Esparza.

"I won that fight," Namajunas said Saturday night at the UFC 274 postfight press conference, according to MMA Fighting.

But it was Esparza who walked away in Phoenix with a split-decision victory and the 115-pound belt around her waist. Esparza also beat Namajunas in 2014 to become the promotion's inaugural strawweight champion.

Namajunas said she thought she did more damage and was in control of the entire fight.

"I stuck to the strategy," Namajunas said. "I felt like as if I landed the more shots. I even took her down. None of her takedowns were significant or any control time."

The rematch was one of the most lackluster title bouts in UFC history, with Namajunas landing 37 significant strikes to Esparza's 30 through 25 minutes. Each round appeared to be up in the air because of the lack of action.

Namajunas said her coach Trevor Wittman told her going into the fifth frame that she had won all four rounds. In actuality, two of three judges had Esparza winning - one by a margin of four rounds to none - at that point.

Namajunas said she knew Esparza - who uses wrestling to win most of her fights - was trying to bait her in, so she wanted to avoid being too aggressive and giving up an easy takedown.

"There was moments where I wanted to capitalize a little bit more and be a little more offensive in moments," Namajunas said. "But then every time I would step, my foot would slip, so I had to be a little more safe. So that's the decision I made in that moment."

She added: "I'm an exciting fighter. I'm a finisher. ... I don't think that I was getting the boos. I'm pretty sure that was Carla."

Namajunas said she's open to a trilogy bout with Esparza.

"I would do a rematch," Namajunas said. "I feel like I was stronger everywhere."

Namajunas baffled by UFC 274 decision: 'I stuck to the strategy'
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