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Dana White will book Weili Zhang vs Carla Esparza if Rose Namajunas deal falls apart

UFC Fight Night: Whittaker v Till Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

I don’t want to speak for either side during the negotiating process, but it’s never a good sign when promotion president Dana White is already talking about his Plan B before Plan A is even put into place, unless he’s just trying to motivate Rose Namajunas.

Reigning UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang, who hasn't been seen since her epic war against Joanna Jedrzejczyk last March, is expected to make her return to the Octagon at some point over the next few months, but her opponent is still up in the air.

“We’re working on (Zhang),” White told ESPN (transcribed by Adam Martin). “Obviously, the fight that everybody wants to see is her and Rose. Hopefully, we can get that done. If not, the next one in line would probably be Carla Esparza. So we’re looking at doing that fight this year, and in Asia.”

Namajunas (9-4) got back into the win column by avenging her loss to Jessica Andrade at UFC 251 back in July. “Thug” recently insisted that any contract dispute with UFC is nothing more than a misunderstanding and that a “Magnum” title fight is the bout she’s after.

As for Esparza (17-6), the 33 year-old “Cookie Monster” is the winner of four straight and currently sits at No. 4 in the official rankings, behind Namajunas (No. 1), former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (No. 2), and top contender Yan Xiaonan (No. 3).