Carla Esparza knows she has a target on her back as the UFC’s strawweight champion, but she’s also not afraid to ignore the chatter of fighters looking for a chance at her belt.
“The Cookie Monster” won the strawweight title from Rose Namajunas via split-decision at UFC 274 last May. It wasn’t the most dominant performance or an especially exciting fight, but Esparza improved to 2-0 against Namajunas after first beating her in 2014 to become the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion.
There’s no shortage of fighters looking to be Esparza’s first challenger, and former champion Jéssica Andrade has been particularly vocal about how unimpressed she was by Esparza’s win at UFC 274.
For her part, Esparza isn’t concerned with what Andrade has to say and hasn’t been too thrilled by their previous interactions.
“I think she’s trying to just shoot her shot and trying to get an opportunity at the title again,” Esparza told MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn. “For me, not to be rude or whatever, but she was super rude to me, so I just view her as a troll and I just blocked her. I’m not gonna engage with her because to me she’s just annoying. I think she’s not the classiest of fighters. I just don’t want to deal with her.”
Andrade defeated Rose Namajunas in 2019 to claim the UFC’s strawweight belt but lost the title to Zhang Weili in her next fight. The UFC’s #6-ranked strawweight is currently on a two-fight win streak after first-round stoppages of Cynthia Calvillo and Amanda Lemos.
While there’s no opponent or date set for Esparza’s first title defense, former champion Zhang appears the likely first challenger after her spinning back fist knockout of Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 275.
What’s your reaction to Esparza referring to Andrade as a “troll” and choosing to ignore her comments?