Carla Esparza is still hoping she gets the next strawweight title shot after Rose Namajunas took the win over Zhang Weili at UFC 268.
Before Saturday night, Esparza was already considered the division’s No.1 contender, but the UFC opted to give Zhang an immediate rematch against Namajunas after suffering a head butt in their first meeting earlier this year. .
Namajunas took a split decision victory to retain his title and Esparza sent him a congratulatory message as well as a message about a possible rematch in the future.
“Congratulations Rose Namajunas for this fantastic victory! Esparza wrote on Instagram. “Inspiring for so many people and I’m really happy for you. Fate crossed us when we created this division and I’m proud that seven years later we are still there at the top.
“It’s not a disrespectful call or something. It is a real respect. You deserve time to celebrate and enjoy this accomplishment. It will be an honor to come back when you are ready.
Esparza defeated Namajunas to become the first UFC strawweight champion after Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter. A rematch seemed like an easy one after Esparza claimed his fifth straight victory with a dominant finish over Yan Xioanan in May.
Instead, the UFC chose to go with Zhang for the rematch and despite Esparza’s position in the division, she can still be stuck on the outside watching when it comes to the next shot. title.
Although Namajunas has expressed interest in the rematch against Esparza, UFC President Dana White urged the former champion not to sit and wait while addressing his situation at the press conference. post-fight while adding that the promotion has “an option” when it comes to another competitor in the strawweight division.
Although he didn’t mention anyone by name, White may be referring to former champion Jessica Andrade, who previously mentioned her interest in taking him back with Namajunas after previously splitting a pair of fights in 2019 and 2020. .
Andrade is currently ranked No.2 in the overall MMA Fighting Global Rankings at flyweight, where she recently competed, but she said a return to 115 pounds is certainly possible for the future.
Judging by White’s comments, Andrade might just be the one who could jump into the next title shot, which would once again leave Esparza as the Strange Woman despite her impressive winning streak in the division.