Former women’s 115lbs champion Carla Esparza reacted after being snubbed of getting the next UFC strawweight title shot at UFC 268.
Following her vicious finish over Yan Xiaonan back in May, Esparza was rightfully considered the No. 1 contender by most fans and media after racking up five straight wins. However, the UFC instead decided that former champ Weili Zhang deserved an immediate title shot after getting knocked out with a head kick by Rose Namajunas at UFC 268. Instead of Esparza getting the next title shot against Namajunas, the UFC announced this weekend that Zhang is going to get the next crack at the belt at November’s UFC 268 card.
Reacting to the news that Zhang is getting the next title shot and not her, Esparza expressed disappointment with the news. Check out how “The Cookie Monster” reacted.
Sad for Esparza. She did enough to earn that rematch against Rose. That was the fight to make. Business wise also not the smartest move by the UFC. Imagine Zhang losing again to Rose…
Namajunas vs. Esparza II should've been made….pretty bad Carla doesn't get her deserved TS. pic.twitter.com/eELBBzgSSR
— Marcel Dorff 🇳🇱🇮🇩 (@BigMarcel24) August 29, 2021
It’s unfortunate for Esparza that she wasn’t deemed worthy of getting the next title shot by the UFC despite her impressive five-fight win streak. In addition to her brutal beatdown over Xiaonan, Esparza also holds recent wins over the likes of top contenders such as Marina Rodriguez, Michelle Waterson, Alexa Grasso, and Virna Jandiroba. Not only that, but she does hold a previous win over Namajunas in the UFC from her first fight in the promotion. On paper, it feels like Esparza did everything she needed to get the rematch.
However, the UFC decided to go with Zhang, which is a controversial move given that she was just knocked out by a head kick from Namajunas back in April. To be fair to Zhang, that was her first loss in the promotion, but at the same time, it was such a dominant win for Namajunas that you figured the UFC would want to give her another opponent next.
Do you think the UFC snubbed Carla Esparza of a title shot at UFC 268?