‘I am the best’: Chelsea women’s team reveal how they used UFC star Rose Namajunas as inspiration on run to Champions League final
The Blues reversed a first-leg deficit to defeat Bayern Munich 5-3 on aggregate to qualify for their first Women's Champions League final on Sunday ahead of a May 16 final against Barcelona.
Goals in the final minutes from Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby were enough to oust the much-fancied German side en route to a 4-1 win in the second-leg which secured the hosts' passage to this month's showpiece game.
Emma Hayes' side faced an unenviable task in taking on Bayern Munich, who entered the second game with their tails up after a close win in the first semi-final encounter between the sides.
And as an emotional Hayes elaborated shortly after her team's historic win, she used some rather unconventional motivation for her team in advance of the game – in the shape of UFC champion 'Thug' Namajunas.
"I played them a video from a UFC star," said Hayes. "It was a one-minute video before the game and she was talking to herself, saying 'I am the best, I am the best.'
"She won the fight and straight after the fight the cameras said to her, 'You were saying to yourself I am the best' and she said, 'But yeah, I am the best'. And that's what I said to the players before the game.
"Someone described us as 'mentality monsters', and we are the best. We're in this position because we deserve it."
The fight which Hayes refenced is Namajunas' recent first-round high-kick knockout of Chinese champion Zhang Weili at the recent UFC 261 event in Jacksonville, Florida.
Namajunas' win erased Zhang's 20-fight undefeated streak which stretched back to 2013, and earned the winner her second UFC strawweight world title.Also on rt.com Dazed Zhang DEMANDS TO FIGHT ON despite being felled with brutal head-kick KO in title defeat to Namajunas at UFC 261 (VIDEO)