Rose Namajunas is back, and she'll be facing a familiar opponent in her return.
Namajunas (8-4) vs. Jessica Andrade (20-7) 2 is close to being finalized for UFC 249 on April 18 in Brooklyn, New York, according to multiple sources.
The fight will be a rematch of one that happened in May, which saw Andrade knock out Namajunas via slam in the second round to win the strawweight title in her home country of Brazil.
Following the fight, Namajunas hinted at a potential retirement from the sport of MMA, however, she recently announced on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show that she decided to resume her career. This will mark her first fight back since that loss to Andrade.
"I lost the passion for martial arts and fighting -- mainly for fighting," a teary-eyed Namajunas said on the show. "I found my passion again. I went back to Minnesota to see one of my coaches from early on in my amateur career -- Greg Nelson. He's just like a huge inspiration for me.
"It's been tough. I think the reason why I wanted to retire was because this isn't a job where you can go in half-assed and not be fully passionate about what you're doing. There's been times where I've not been totally confident in myself going into a fight, and then I just pull it off or get through it." Andrade didn't hold the 115-pound belt for long.
In August, she lost the belt in her first title defense to Zhang Weili in just 42 seconds via knockout. She has not fought since.
Fighting in New York has proved to be good luck for the 27-year-old Namajunas. She won the strawweight title at Madison Square Garden in November 2017 against Joanna Jędrzejczyk and then successfully defended the belt in April 2018 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, site of UFC 249, against Jędrzejczyk, as well.