Carla Esparza is explaining the lack of action in the Rose Namajunas rematch.
It was Esparza (20-6 MMA) vs Namajunas (12-5 MMA) II this past Saturday night at UFC 274 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Esparza won by a split decision. The two had previously met in December of 2014 where it was Carla Esparza that was the victor then as well.
Following Saturday’s match-up Esparza is thrilled to be a UFC strawweight champion again but there’s a shadow hanging over the fight with some calling it the most lackluster title fight in the UFC history.
Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Carla Esparza had this to say:
“That’s always a bummer. You always want to put on a show for the fans, so it’s unfortunate to be a part of a fight like that.”
“But I felt that I was putting the pressure on, I was coming forward, I was the aggressor, I was holding on to the center of the octagon, so at the end of the day, I did what I could, and I tried to fight my fight, but fights go like that sometimes.”
Speaking of her game plan Esparza said (h/t MMAFighting):
“I felt that I fought a smart game plan. I felt that if I would have gotten too wild and too reckless, I would have set myself up to be a highlight reel. Rose has incredible timing and placement on her strikes. She’s had some awesome head-kicks finishes and dropped people, so I didn’t feel like it was a smart person to get reckless with.”
Continuing to speak about Rose Namajunas, Carla Esparza said:
“I don’t feel that Rose pushed the pace. As a champion, you really need to go after it, and (say), ‘This is my octagon.’ I don’t really feel that she was aggressive enough to say, ‘Hey, this was my win,’ so at the end of the day, I got the belt, and if she wants a rematch, I’m down for that, too.”
“I really want to set it in the eyes of the judges. I hate to say it this way, but, it’s hard to fight someone that doesn’t want to fight.”
Now the question becomes will there be a trilogy fight? Would you like to see Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza battle it out in the Octagon a third time?