At UFC 274 this past weekend, Esparza concluded her journey back to the top of the 115-pound weight class with a second dose of title glory. While it perhaps didn’t come in the fashion she’d have hoped, both in terms of a convincing triumph and an entertaining one, “Cookie Monster” left Phoenix with gold in her possession nonetheless.
After 25 minutes of action (somewhat), Esparza fell on the right side of a split decision, marking her second victory over Namajunas, and making her only the second female fighter in the UFC to regain a title.
Now, having completed her rise back to the top by extending her win streak to six, Esparza is looking ahead to her next challenge: adding a first title defense to her résumé. To do so, she may well have to go through the same woman who prevented her from accomplishing it back in 2015.
Esparza: Jędrzejczyk Rematch Would Be A Great Moment
After becoming the inaugural strawweight queen in 2014 with a submission victory over Namajunas, Esparza was tasked with adding the first blemish to the record of Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
But at UFC 185, it took the Polish star less than 10 minutes to dispatch “Cookie Monster” via TKO. Miraculously, the pair could be on a collision course seven years later. During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Esparza relished the prospect of avenging her previous loss to Jędrzejczyk.
“Yeah, I mean, most definitely (Jędrzejczyk rematch would be perfect). That would be awesome,” said Esparza. “That would be such great moment, to really just come back and fight like, my fight, and I feel like I’ve come such a long way since then and she’s kinda been sitting on the sidelines, so I definitely feel like it would be a different fight. It would be like, what is it called? Sweet revenge or sweet justice, whatever you call it.”
For it to come to fruition, Jędrzejczyk will need to take care of business when she returns to action next month.
At UFC 275, set for Singapore on June 11, the former champion will run it back with Zhang Weili. Jędrzejczyk hasn’t fought since playing a big part in 2020’s Fight of the Year, which saw her fall short of capturing the Chinese 115lber’s title.
Should Jędrzejczyk exact revenge on “Magnum,” it stands to reason that we’ll be witnessing Esparza vs. Jędrzejczyk 2 sometime later this year or in 2023. Who’d have expected that sentence in 2015?
Would you like to see Carla Esparza defend the title against Joanna Jędrzejczyk if the Pole defeats Zhang Weili next month?