Thursday, June 23, 2022

Daniel Cormier Believes Weili vs. Esparza Could Make MMA History

Daniel Cormier thinks a lot of money will be bet on former strawweight champion Zhang Weili against current titleholder Carla Esparza.

Weili seems to have earned the next strawweight title shot after a knockout win over Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 275. She bounced back following back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas.

The door to a quick turnaround towards another title shot opened up for Weili when Namajunas fell to Esparza via a split decision at UFC 274. This prompted UFC President Dana White to proclaim Weili vs. Jędrzejczyk as a No. 1 contender fight instead of the surging Marina Rodriguez getting the next shot.

Cormier thinks the odds will be stacked in favor of Weili ahead of their expected title fight, especially after Esparza’s lackluster win over Namajunas versus Weili’s highlight finish.

During a recent episode of his DC&RC show, Cormier claimed that Weili could make history before she squares off with Esparza.

“She may be honestly the biggest challenger in terms of a favorite going into a fight that you’ve ever seen in the UFC,” Cormier said of Weili. “She’s gonna be a massive favorite over Carla Esparza.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

Esparza earned wins over the likes of Yan Xiaonan, Michelle Waterson, and Rodriguez on her way to the title shot against Namajunas. She earned the then-vacant strawweight title over Namajunas on The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale.

Weili called for a fight with Esparza in Abu Dhabi later this year, but Esparza seems non-committal to fulfilling her wish. Esparza got married following her win over Namajunas and it’s unclear when she’ll return for her first title defense as the new champion.

Cormier, as well as many other UFC fans and pundits, feel that Esparza’s second strawweight title reign may be short-lived ahead of her fight against Weili.

Do you give Carla Esparza a chance to defeat Zhang Weili?

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