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Former UFC champion Rose Namajunas will attempt to take another step back towards gold this weekend. 

‘Thug Rose,’ the two-time strawweight champion, faces short notice replacement Tracy Cortez this weekend in Denver, Colorado, as she seeks to piece together a sequence of wins that might earn her a shot against reigning titleholder Alexa Grasso — and a win against the 11-1 Cortez, who has won six straight fights under the UFC banner, would go a long way towards making that goal a reality.

It was a difficult past couple of years for Namajunas. In May 2022, coming off two wins against divisional standout Weili Zhang, Namajunas lost her crown to Carla Esparza as well as a subsequent showdown with France’s Manon Fiorot.

But while those results dropped her a few rungs on the title contention ladder, Namajunas rebounded suitably this past March with a five-round unanimous decision victory against the always tough Amanda Ribas, which you can watch in full below.

Another win this weekend and the 32-year-old moves a step closer to her shot at becoming the division’s first three-time champion.