Friday, December 9, 2022

Dana White Remains Coy On Granting Carla Esparza Title Shot

Dana White was impressed by Carla Esparza’s demolition of Yan Xiaonan but remains undecided on granting her a title shot next.

Esparza made a compelling case for facing champ Rose Namajunas after making light work of #3-ranked straweight Xiaonan in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 27. 

Many predicted the fight would be a highly competitive affair. However, Xiaonan, who was undefeated in eleven fights, had no answer for Esparza’s wrestling, spending the vast majority of the fight on her back, fending off ground strikes and submission attempts. 

“The Cookie Monster” viciously ended proceedings with a TKO finish in round two, earning her a fifth-successive victory and Performance of the Night.


Carla Esparza calls for title shot

Riding the impressive victory, former strawweight champ Esparza immediately took to the mic to plead Dana White for a title shot against Namajunas. 

“I want a chance to fight for that title,” Esparza said (h/t Danny Segura of MMA Junkie). “I think that’s an intriguing fight. It’s a fight that everyone wants to see. Come on, Dana, let’s make it happen.”

While the dominant victory didn’t go unnoticed by the UFC President, he stopped short of granting Esparza a title shot next, with a potential rematch between Namajunas and former champ Zhang Weili looming.

 “She looked like a beast tonight,” White told ESPN (h/t Christopher Taylor of BJPENN.COM). “She came out and absolutely dominated. You can tell by the way she was fighting that she was trying to make a statement. Statement made. Message received. We see you…”

Carla Esparza

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do next,” White continued. “If we do the rematch (Namajunas vs. Zhang 2), or if we give it to her (Esparza).”

Esparza’s victory over Xiaonan was her first by first stoppage since winning the inaugural women’s strawweight championship against Namajunas in 2014. 

She was dethroned by Joanna Jędrzejczyk in her first title defense but has since made an impressive run for the title, with victories over Virna Jandiroba, Alexa Grasso, Michelle Waterson, and Marina Rodriguez.