Carla Esparza on Marina Rodriguez beating Mackenzie Dern: ‘It really solidified me as the No. 1 contender’

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Carla Esparza believes she should be the one rematching Rose Namajunas next – even more so after Mackenzie Dern’s recent loss.

This past Saturday’s UFC Vegas 39 main event saw No. 6 ranked strawweight contender Marina Rodriguez score a stout unanimous decision over Dern – leaving the 15-1-2 Brazilian with her lone loss coming to Esparza.

“I think there was talks of Mackenzie being in there (title picture), especially with a similar win record,” Carla Esparza told MMA Junkie. “I could see an argument for that and she’s got a lot of hype behind her too and she’s a really great fighter. She had explosive finishes on the ground, so I could’ve definitely seen an argument for that.

“But with Marina having a win over her and myself having a win over Marina, and being her only loss, I think it really solidified me as the No. 1 contender.”

Carla Esparza (18-6) became the inaugural UFC 115-pound champion when defeating Namajunas at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter season 20 in 2013. “Cookie Monster” now rides a five-fight winning streak – her best since that time.

“I’m going to know a lot after the fight on Nov. 6,” Esparza said. “I think whatever happens after that fight is going to be very telling on what happens with my future and my next fight.

“Of course I want the title fight. I’ve been fighting for seven years to get back to this point, but I also want to stay active and fight because that’s what I like to do, so hopefully, it goes in a way that makes sense for the UFC to give me the next fight.

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