Rose Namajunas may not be a matchmaker, but she makes it known what fight she wants next.
The 2X UFC Strawweight Champion isn’t afraid to speak her mind, nor is she scared to take on a familiar face, that’s defeated her in the past. Yes, that’s right, Namajunas is aiming to avenge her devastating loss to Carla Esparza.
The two would first meet on one fateful night back in 2014. After clearing out names in ‘The Ultimate Fighter 20 tournament, Esparza and Namajunas would compete for the inaugural strawweight title. Namajunas might have run through the competition in the TUF house but she would not get the job done against Esparza.
It Makes Sense
Esparza would win the first strawweight crown, with a submission of Namajunas in round 3. The new champion wouldn’t hold onto the title long, being TKO’ed by Joanna Jedrzejczyk her next time out. Namajunas would eventually find her way back to title contention, on two separate occasions.
After defending her title against Zhang Weili, the streaking Esparza has been waiting for a rematch with the 2x champ. ‘Thug’ Rose seems like she is ready to go as well.
“It’s the only one that makes sense,” Namajunas told MMA Junkie. “I can fight anybody, but nothing really interests me other than Carla.”
The Road To The Rematch
Esparza, who rides the longest active winning streak (5) in the strawweight division was shocked to see Zhang Weili get an immediate title rematch with Namajunas. This would come after a first-round KO to Namajunas earlier this year. The fight skipped Esparza, who was thought to be in line.
Since the booking of the rematch at UFC 268, ‘The Cookie Monster’ would wait her turn for the winner. Sitting out would be criticized by Dana White, saying it wasn’t the best idea. It looks as though the UFC isn’t passionate about making Namajunas vs. Esparza 2 happen, but time will tell.
A little nudge from the champ should help.
“I think it’s probably maybe because she’s a wrestler or something (that they don’t want to give her the fight),” Namajunas said. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s hard for them to get behind her, but I don’t know what it is, really. I do think she was sitting out and waiting for the title shot and that wasn’t the best move.
“But, honestly I think it just makes sense. Make it happen.”
No contracts have been sent out to either fighter for the rematch, but if both strawweight’s want to fight for the throne again, why not? There isn’t a huge list of options at 115. One option could be top contender Marina Rodriguez, but even she wants to see Esparza get a title shot first.