Esparza defeated Namajunas via split decision in the UFC 274 co-headliner. Chookagian is far from the first fighter to make her opinion known on the matchup, as Aljamain Sterling and Belal Muhammad are just a few of the other names who have weighed in.
UFC President Dana White also criticized the lack of volume and output in the Namajunas vs. Esparza fight. He alluded to the fact that fans aren’t clamoring for a third fight between the two strawweight pioneers happening anytime soon.
During her UFC Vegas 54 pre-fight press conference, Chookagian gave her thoughts on how the Namajunas/Esparza rematch played out.
“I feel kinda bad for the girls because it’s so easy to criticize them when no one’s been in there,” Chookagian said. “Sometimes it’s just the style matchups, it’s just the day. Both of those girls are not boring fighters, they’re there for a reason.
“I think it’s so easy to criticize them and say ‘Oh, it’s the most boring fight.’ W,ell you get in there and fight five rounds for the world title, and your whole life is worked up to that moment.”
“Sometimes you’re just physically not there, sometimes it’s the style matchups that call for a boring fight. Look at before that fight, they both had highlights that were amazing. So they’re not boring fighters, so I don’t think that they didn’t try. Sometimes it’s just the circumstances. There’s so many factors that go into it.
“I feel bad that they got so much criticism because they’re such amazing fighters, and I don’t feel like Carla got the full credit she deserves for winning that fight.”
Chookagian will face Amanda Ribas on the UFC Vegas 54 main card this weekend. She’s looking to move one step closer to another potential flyweight title shot.
The UFC 274 co-headliner fell way short of expectations, but Chookagian thinks fans and pundits criticizing Namajunas and Esparza should put themselves in their shoes.
Do you agree with Katlyn Chookagian’s comments?