Carla Esparza is hopeful that the UFC will grant her a title shot.
The former strawweight champion is waiting anxiously to be the next challenger to the newly crowned two-time UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas after dominating Yan Xiaonan in her most recent fight at UFC Vegas 27.
Despite absolutely mauling Xiaonan in the fight and finishing her in round 2 by TKO, UFC president seemed rather coy in the post-fight interview, mentioning that he wasn’t too sure whether to grant Esparza the title shot just yet.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Esparza was slightly irked by the fact that Dana White did not give a clear cut opponent for the strawweight champion Namajunas’s next opponent. The talks of a possible rematch with Zhang Weili and Namajunas confused Esparza, believing the former Chinese champion is in no position to ask for an immediate rematch after being finished in the first round by Namajunas to lose the strawweight title at UFC 261.
“I know he was definitely impressed with the fight,” Esparza told ESPN. “But you want to hear those words ‘You got the fight, it’s your fight’. So until I hear those words, I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch. But I’m hopeful. There are talks of it going to Weili too, but that fight doesn’t make sense. It’s not like she’s had 5-10 title defenses and she lost in a fluke. I don’t think she’s in a place to ask for an immediate rematch, but I think she’s a great fighter.”
Esparza is currently on a five fight winning streak defeating the likes of Virna Jandiroba, Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez. Her last loss was in September 2018 when she was finished by Tatiana Suarez however since then, Esparza has looked impressive in these last couple years.
A clash against Namajunas makes for an interesting narrative since it would be the second time these two women face off against each other. In their first bout back in The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 in 2014, Esparza submitted Namajunas by rear-naked choke to become the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion and also win The Ultimate Fighter show.
Both fighters have improved massively since then especially for Namajunas who was very much inexperienced back then but has now grown to become a very well rounded, deadly mixed martial artist.
It is certainly a question mark whether Esparza will fight for the belt next but it would be interesting to see if Namajunas can avenge her early career loss.
Do you think Esparza has done enough to warrant a strawweight title shot?