Carla Esparza is keeping her chin up, metaphorically, following the news that Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili 2 will be the next Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Strawweight title fight.
The Namajunas vs. Zhang rematch will serve as the co-main event for UFC 268, headlined by Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 and taking place inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 6, 2021, streaming online via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV).
“I’ve worked many years to fight my way back to a title shot,” Esparza captioned an Instagram photo of herself on Tuesday, addressing the upcoming title fight. “I have faith good things will come, and in the meantime, I will use this time to strength build and skill-build! May the best woman win… I got next.”
Esparza (No. 3), the inaugural UFC women’s Strawweight champion, has built herself back up contention with five consecutive wins over Yan Xiaonan, Marina Rodriguez, Michelle Waterson, Alexa Grasso and Virna Jandiroba. Esparza was in the running to challenge Namajunas, a storyline-rich match that would serve as the follow-up to The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 Finale, where Esparza beat Namajunas to capture the crown.
Zhang (21-2) is receiving an immediate title rematch despite only securing one title defense before getting knocked out (watch highlights) by Namajunas (10-4) at 1:18 of round one at UFC 261 in April.
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