'Thug' Rose Namajunas believes she has the chance to put herself into Flyweight title contention, if she can get past Tracy Cortez at UFC Denver.

The bout will see the former Strawweight champion make the walk to the Octagon as a Flyweight for the third time.

As ‘Thug’ the move came with both her health and longevity in mind, as well as the pursuit for a second UFC belt. Speaking to MMAJunkie, she said:

“Think it's a little bit of both. I mean, when I first started my career in the UFC, that was kind of like my vision that I had in mind. I mean, it wasn't like super solid, but I definitely wanted to become champion and then I also, somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought to become champion in two divisions as well.

“But that was so far in the distance that, I’d never became a champion before, so I was a little, I wasn't sure if I could make that happen but now I know that I can. So not just that, though but my weight cuts were getting a little more difficult each time.

“Then it was just like, you know, I was fighting the same people over and over again. So, yeah, it was like a little bit of everything.”

Originally slated to face Maycee Barber in the main event slot, Namajunas has had a late change in opponent and will now take on Cortez, instead. Sometimes a different opponent can cause a world of issues in terms of preparation but for Namajunas, she has been more focussed on her game plan but admits there’s a few things she will need to watch out for. 

"No, it's not like night and day difference. Basically my approach is the same as far as what I'm going to do, and it pretty much is the same pretty much every time.

"But as far as like defence goes, I just have to watch out for a little bit different things. I think that Tracy, she has better back control when she gets on the ground, she's great on the top. I mean, Macyee is good in the top too but I just think she's more she likes to grind people up against the cage and clench and try to throw elbows and things like that or break off the clinch and throw punches. So I think she just maybe Maycee possesses a little more power on the feet.

"Obviously, I mean, she gets into a ground and pound position she’s good and I think on the striking, I think there's a little bit more nuance with her leftie stance just kind of throwing different things out there. With Tracy, there's less dynamics and everything that she's kind of coming at you with this little more, you know?

"But it's great because she's got great fundamentals and I'm looking to use my fundamentals and make sure my fundamentals are better than hers and also have that extra flair as well so I could beat her everywhere and so that's my goal. But yeah, I think as far as like what the two opponents are going to try to do to me, I think it's about similar and not exact same, so my game plan doesn't switch up too much.

A win against Cortez would see Namajunas have collected two big victories against ranked opponents at 125lbs and with that, the 32-year-old believes she would be in or around a title shot in the very near future. 

“I would say I'm right in the title contention talks. So God willing, I'm healthy, I'm in shape and I'm ready to go with the win and whatever opportunities they they want to give me, I could see myself fighting for the belt really soon.”

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