UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas wants to fight Carla Esparza next following her big win over Weili Zhang at UFC 268.
Namajunas edged out a split decision over Zhang in a razor-thin fight that served as the co-main event of UFC 268. It was another fantastic performance by Namajunas, who overcame a slow start to turn it on late and steal the decision on the judges’ scorecards. Namajunas is now 2-0 over Zhang and it seems unlikely that the UFC will run back an immediate trilogy fight, so it seems likely that Namajunas will get a new opponent next.
Looking at the rankings, the fighter who stands out as the No. 1 contender is Esparza, who actually beat Namajunas after The Ultimate Fighter in 2014 to become the first-ever champ at 115lbs. Speaking to the media following UFC 268, Namajunas admitted that Esparza had been on her mind leading into the Zhang fight. Now that she has won the fight, she believes that Esparza should be next and she hopes she gets to fight her again.
“She was on my mind before going into this one. That seems sort of like the logical step, but I’ve got to see what the UFC is thinking I guess. but yeah, I would love to fight Carla,” Namajunas said (h/t MMAjunkie.com).
As for the fight with Zhang, Namajunas says it was a tough-fought fight, but she is just happy that she got the decision on the judges’ scorecards.
“It wasn’t a surprise that she made the improvements that she did,” Namajunas said. “I was pretty convinced going into the fifth round that I had won it. It was pretty close in my mind for the rest of the fight, but going into the fifth, because it was such a dominant round for me, I felt as though I won and it. I could’ve kept going even more. When they read her name off on the scorecards I was like, ‘Wait, is it going to be her, then me, then her?’ Judges, you never know what they’re going to see and it was a close fight. So I was ready for whatever,” Namajunas said.
Do you want to see Rose Namajunas fight Carla Esparza next, and who do you think wins?