Carla Esparza faces former Invicta Strawweight champion Virna Jandiroba in Florida this weekend at UFC on ESPN+ 8. Esparza was the inaugural women’s strawweight champion when the division started in 2014 but has not been able to get back to title contention since she lost it to former champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Esparza firmly believes she can make another run at the title after this weekend.
Coming off two losses in a row, Esparza has taken the lesson from those losses and turned them into fuel for her next bout. In an interview with MMA Junkie, she opened up about the changes she made and what the fight at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida means to her career on Saturday. “This is definitely a big fight for me,” Esparza said. “Just looking at my weaknesses and where I need to improve, I’ve definitely spent many, many hours trying to fix problems I’ve had in my last couple fights.”
Esparza looked to the UFC Performance Institute to make the changes she felt she needed from her diet to getting stronger in the cage. Esparza says she has seen the results in her training and is looking to put her work to a true test on Saturday. While Esparza’s original opponent was supposed to be Livia Renata Souza, she will certainly be put to the test with Jandiroba who makes her UFC debut with an undefeated record.
Esparza said her time on “The Ultimate Fighter” had already given her the mindset of always being ready. “You don’t know who you’re going to fight next,” Esparza said of her time on the show, ”So, you just kind of have to have that mentality of being ready to fight anyone. That’s the way you have to go into it.” It seems that is how she is going into this fight this weekend too.
Do you think Esparza will make another run at the title?