Carla Esparza has made all of the right moves to earn a crack at facing Rose Namajunas for the women’s Strawweight title next — which includes five straight wins — but she is not guaranteed the fight just yet.
During the recent UFC 268 post-fight presser, UFC President, Dana White, was non-committal about giving “Cookie Monster” the next shot after Namajunas defended her title against Zhang Weili in New York City.
“We have an option,” White said during UFC 268 post-fight presser (via MMA Fighting). “You don’t sit around and wait for fights, it’s a really bad idea,” he added in regard to Esparza playing the waiting game in hopes of landing the championship bout.
It’s rather puzzling that White and Co. wouldn’t commit to giving Esparza the chance to win back her title given their history. Esparza defeated Namajunas in 2014 to win the inaugural Strawweight strap. Furthermore, aside from her incredible win streak, Esparza is ranked No. 2.
One of the other options for UFC matchmakers is Marina Rodriguez, winner of three in a row and the owner of the No. 3 ranking. That being said, Rodriguez — who is coming off a win over Mackenzie Dern — came up short against Esparza in 2020.
For now, all Esparza and the rest of the contenders can do is wait to see just what White has up his sleeve. But, if Namajunas has a say in the matter she is all for running it back against “Cookie Monster” and getting that loss back.
“She was on my mind before going into this one,” Namajunas said after UFC 268 (via MMA Junkie). “That seems sort of like the logical step, but I’ve got to see what UFC is thinking I guess, but yeah, I would love to fight Carla.”