Namajunas and Esparza first fought back in 2014 for the inaugural strawweight title which Esparza won by third-round submission in the finale of TUF 20. After that, Jędrzejczyk went on to beat Esparza to win the belt and had it until Namajunas knocked her out in 2017.
With Namajunas reclaiming the belt in 2021, she now appears set to rematch Esparza sometime this year. It’s an intriguing matchup as Esparza has had a career turnaround of sorts but in the rematch, Jędrzejczyk believes it will be Namajunas getting her hand raised this time around.
“I think that Rose will defend her belt,” Jedrzejczyk told MMA Junkie. “Carla won back in the day in 2014, but both of them are totally different fighters, different athletes with different mentality, as well, but I think that Rose will win this fight. She’s very strong. She’s very, very fast. Her timing is just perfect with her footwork. Of course, Carla has a few wins streak, but Rose is a different level, I think.”
If Rosa Namajunas does defeat Carla Esparza as Joanna Jędrzejczyk thinks it’s likely Marina Rodriguez would be next for the champ. However, the Pole has made it known she still wants the third fight against ‘Thug’ even though she’s 0-2 to the champ.
The plan for Jędrzejczyk is to rematch Weili Zhang sometime this year and should she win, she could very well earn another title shot. She still remains a big name in the sport and she could help sell the fight against Namajunas, which could happen sometime in 2023 as she looks to reclaim her belt.
Who do you think will win the fight between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza?