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Carla Esparza avoids surgery, won’t rush back for UFC title defense — ‘I require more time to heal’

UFC 274: Oliveira v Gaethje Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

Carla Esparza recaptured the women’s strawweight crown by defeating former titleholder Rose Namajunas at the UFC 274 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Phoenix and is expected to make her first 115-pound title defense opposite former champion Zhang Weili.

But not until her lingering injuries are completely healed.

“I just saw my doctor in regards to my two MRI results yesterday and the great news is, no surgeries required on either location,” Esparza wrote on Instagram. “I simply require a little more time to heal, PRP injections (already scheduled) and a little physical therapy and I should be back to 100 percent to start camp and fight before this year is done. I have a very tough fight and camp ahead of me, and I look forward to giving it my all. In the meantime, look forward to some modified training. Thank you to UFC for being on top of it and making sure I get back to [100].”

Esparza, who turns 35 in October, is the winner of six straight.

The 19-6 “Cookie Monster” has been getting some blowback from fans over her delayed return; however, current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman took more than nine months off between his last fight and his upcoming title defense against Leon Edwards.

That will give “Magnum” a little more time to work on her surfing.