Team Rose Namajunas has refuted UFC president Dana White’s claims that she does not want a title shot against strawweight champ Weili Zhang.
After beating Jessica Andrade by split decision at UFC 251 in a “Fight of the Night” performance on Fight Island this past summer, White said that Namajunas was next in line to fight Zhang. Very recently we heard that the UFC was close to figuring out a date for this bout, but it appears that it might not happen now. On Wednesday, White made comments to BT suggesting that Namajunas isn’t interested in a title shot against Zhang and that the promotion is considering giving the next title shot to former champ Carla Esparza instead.
White on the women's strawweight division: "What I'm hearing is Rose does not want a title shot… So we're looking at the rankings and how it plays out, it would play out as Weili vs. Carla Esparza"
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 16, 2020
White on the women’s strawweight division: “What I’m hearing is Rose Namajunas does not want a title shot… So we’re looking at the rankings and how it plays out, it would play out as Weili vs. Carla Esparza” (h/t TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter)
Hearing White’s comments, Team Namajunas was quick to refute them publicly. In a statement to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Namajunas’ coach/fiance Pat Barry said there must be some confusion because here because Namajunas absolutely wants to fight Zhang next.
I asked Rose Namajunas’ coach/fiancé Pat Barry about this.
“That is absolutely not true. We absolutely want the title fight.
Who would turn down a title fight? We just dont want to air this out publicly. If there was some confusion they can call us to clear it up." https://t.co/qoxmzLGyxk
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 16, 2020
I asked Rose Namajunas’ coach/fiancé Pat Barry about this. His response: “That is absolutely not true. We absolutely want the title fight. Who would turn down a title fight? We just dont want to air this out publicly. If there was some confusion they can call us to clear it up.”
There seems to be some miscommunication from both the Namajunas and UFC side in this particular instance. Hopefully, things get sorted out because the fight that needs to happen is Zhang vs. Namajunas. These are the best two strawweights in the UFC and we need to see them fight. But in the case that it doesn’t happen, Esparza is a decent backup plan.
Do you think the UFC will sort things out and get Rose Namajunas booked against Weili Zhang, or do you think Carla Esparza will get the title shot instead?