Friday, May 27, 2022

Carla Esparza: “People Overlook What I’ve Done In This Sport”

Carla Esparza believes people don’t give her the respect she deserves.

Esparza is the inaugural UFC strawweight champion and set to fight for UFC gold in the co-main event of UFC 274 on Saturday against Rose Namajunas. It’s an intriguing matchup given that Esparza beat Namajunas seven-and-a-half years ago for the inaugural belt.

Entering this fight, Namajunas is a sizeable favorite, but Esparza doesn’t care. Instead, she says she is going in there to get the win and prove she is one of the best ever.

“I definitely feel like people overlook what I’ve done in this sport. ‘Maybe it was a fluke,’ ‘Oh, it was so early on,’ ‘I don’t think she can do it again.’ And I know I’m the underdog going into this fight, but for me, it really doesn’t matter what people think because I’m going in there to win that fight,” Esparza said to ESPN.

Carla Esparza
(via Zuffa LLC)

If Carla Esparza is going to win this fight and become the champion again, her wrestling will be the key. In the first fight against Namajunas, she got five takedowns and ended up getting the submission win. Meanwhile, she has gotten at least one takedown in her past five fights, which she all won, and during those five fights, she has gotten 17 takedowns and averages 3.53 takedowns per 15 minutes.

UFC 274 could also serve as the final time Esparza fights for UFC gold given she is 34 and the strawweight division is super deep with a ton of up-and-coming contenders. With that, the stakes are high for Esparza to get the win.

Carla Esparza, as mentioned, is on a five-fight win streak and is 18-6 as a pro. Her last win was a one-sided beatdown of Yan Xioanan as she scored a second-round TKO. During this run, she also beat Marina Rodriguez, Michelle Waterson, Alexa Grasso, and Virna Jandiroba.

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

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