With a five fight win streak and a recent win over a top contender, Carla Esparza believes she should be next for a title shot. She continued to make that claim recently, calling for the rematch with Rose Namajunas.
It is easy to forget at times that Esparza was actually the first champion that the strawweight division had. After battling through a season of The Ultimate Fighter, she won the title by submitting Rose in the finals.
Since then things have been a bit hot and cold for Carla, losing the title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk and taking up a role as something of a gatekeeper for the division. However things have changed since 2019, as she has gone from a two-fight skid, to a five-fight winning streak.
Carla Esparza Calls For A Title Shot
After her most recent win, a complete decimation of Yan Xiaonan, Dana White said that Carla Esparza could be next for the title shot. He said that Rose Namajunas would be defending her strap against either Carla, or another rematch with Weili Zhang.
It seems that the Cookie Monster has decided to take matters into her own hands, and go on the campaign trail to convince people she deserves a crack at the belt. This continued in a big way, when she was speaking recently to SiriusXM’s Jimmy Smith, she made her case for deserving a rematch with Rose.
“I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and I want that title fight. I want that title fight real bad. Not only do I want it, but I deserve it,” Esparza said.
“I think it’s an intriguing fight, I think fans really want to see it. It’s a rematch that I even want to see, like I’m excited for it. It’s really out of my control, but I’m going to keep calling for that rematch.
“In my opinion, that fight needs to happen one hundred percent in 2021. Like, that fight needs to happen now,” Esparza added.
“I feel like the UFC’s put me in the position a lot to kind of be the gatekeeper of the division… I’ve stopped almost all of the young up and comers, the young whippersnappers that are trying to come up here. I still feel like I’m strong, and I’m trying to make a statement in this division, and I’m not done with it. But I’m tired of being the gatekeeper, it’s time for me to have my turn.”
🔊 "I'm tired of being the gatekeeper, it's time for me to have my turn."
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) May 24, 2021
This was not the last that we heard from Carla Esparza, while trying to make a claim for a title shot. In fact, she posted to her Instagram to send a message directly to Rose Namajunas, calling for the second fight between the two.
“We started this division together… Round 2?!” she wrote.
Given the history between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza, and how far they have come since their first meeting, it will be interesting to see how the rematch goes. Truthfully, this seems to be the fight that fans are most interested in, rather than the other options that are available at the top of 115lb.