Ahead of her upcoming title defense, Esparza received a storm of boos and jeers at the UFC 281 pre-fight press conference on Wednesday. It’s uncertain what the specific reason was for the hostility, though an assumption can be made it could be due to her less-than-entertaining fight with Namajunas.
Unlike Esparza, Jędrzejczyk was a UFC fan favorite for years during her time in the Octagon. She defeated Esparza for the belt at UFC 185 via second-round TKO.
After getting word of Esparza’s harsh reception, Jędrzejczyk wants Esparza to be accepted by the fans as a worthy champion.
Joanna Jędrzejczyk Says Former Foe Carla Esparza Deserves Respect
During a recent press conference, Jędrzejczyk gave her thoughts on Esparza’s cold reception by fans.
“She’s the champ, she deserves respect and all the attention,” Jędrzejczyk said. “It’s not only about being the best athlete, it’s about having the best character if fans see charisma in you or not. If I was becoming the strawweight champion for a second time, I would get bigger. I would double the amount of followers, money, contracts, everything. It looks like for Carla Esparza, it’s enough. It’s okay, we have to respect that, but she’s the champ so she deserves all the respect right now.”
Esparza recently hinted that the boos immediately following UFC 274 took away the spectacle of reclaiming the belt. While she hasn’t appeared visibly impacted by the hostility, she’d surely prefer being positively received by the UFC fanbase.
Jędrzejczyk knows the ins and outs of being a UFC champion and star and feels Esparza could reverse the perception of fans with a signature performance this weekend.
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