Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Carla Esparza Shares Theory On Why She Continues To Be Overlooked

Carla Esparza thinks being overlooked has been a theme in her career so far.

Carla Esparza has had a wonderful career up until this point. She was the first-ever UFC strawweight champion and has beat some of the best fighters in that weight class. She now has the opportunity to fight for the belt once again and will be taking on the woman she beat the first time she won the title, Rose Namajunas. Esparza sat down with MMA Junkie to discuss what it would mean to her to win this title once again.

“That moment when I won the belt the first time was the best moment of my life up until that point and it would be really hard to beat that,” Esparza said. “Winning the belt again would be so phenomenal. Almost eight years later, almost everything I’ve gone through in the UFC since then, it would be a huge moment in my life.”

It has been seven and a half years since Esparza defeated Namajunas in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter to become champion. She lost the title to Joanna Jędrzejczyk in 2015 and has been trying to get it back ever since.

Carla Esparza vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk: Winner, Scorecard, Reaction from UFC  185 | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
Credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

In the meantime, Namajunas has won the belt twice and solidified herself as one of the best fighters in the UFC. With a résumé as prestigious as Namajunas’s, she is many times the favorite. That makes Esparza the underdog, which is nothing new to the former champion.

“I would say probably a lot of people are overlooking me. It has been the theme of my career. I’ve been the underdog a lot,” Esparza explained. “I’ve been physically the smaller fighter in most of my fights and I think just because I’ve never been so vocal and I tend to be more humble and I don’t talk about myself and how I’m going to dominate this next person. That gives people the feeling that ‘Oh, she’s not hyping herself up, she must be scared, she must not be confident.’ My confidence comes from inside. I don’t need to be vocal about what I’m going to do, I just go in there and do it.”

Esparza gets the chance to win back her title against Namajunas on May 7 at UFC 274 live from the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Do you think Carla Esparza will defeat Rose Namajunas at UFC 274?

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