UFC women’s strawweight contender Joanna Jedrzejczyk reacted to the potential of Carla Esparza getting a title shot, saying “Rose is next.”
We all thought the plan was for UFC women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang to fight Rose Namajunas next, but UFC president Dana White recently got into a public disagreement with Team Namajunas about her desire to actually fight for the belt. According to White, Namajunas doesn’t want to fight Zhang for the belt and the UFC is considering giving the title shot at 115lbs to the former champion Esparza instead. On her end, Team Namajunas has denied that and says that she just wants to fight.
At this point, we don’t really know what White and the UFC matchmakers want to do, but if they give the title shot to Esparza, it would be a mistake according to Jedrzejczyk. Speaking to South China Morning Post, the former 115lbs champion says that she believes Namajunas should be next for Zhang, not Esparza.
“I really believe Rose will be the next challenger for the strawweight title. All respect to Carla Esparza – she made it to the league, she was the champ – but I feel like the top four in the strawweight division is different. Maybe they’re trying to push (Namajunas), but she is a very smart human being and she’s going to make the right decision at the right time, and she’s next. I don’t want to say, ‘Who’s Carla Esparza?’ because I know who she is. I have tons of respect for her, but Rose is next,” Jedrzejczyk said.
Interestingly, Jedrzejczyk actually defeated Esparza back at UFC 185 in 2015 to claim the UFC women’s strawweight championship. Jedrzejczyk made five successful title defenses before dropping her belt to Namajunas in an upset at UFC 217 in 2017. After fighting her way back to the title picture, Jedrzejczyk lost a split decision to Zhang in 2020’s best fight back in March. She is now healthy and will be looking to get back into the Octagon next year as the UFC looks to resume a normal schedule.
Do you agree with Joanna Jedrzejczyk that Ros Namajunas should be next for Weili Zhang and not Carla Esparza?