In the co-main event his past Saturday at UFC Vegas 27, former strawweight champion Carla Esparza staked her claim to another title shot with a second-round TKO over third-ranked Yan Xiaonan. It was a dominant performance from Esparza who repeatedly grounded Yan with takedowns and beat her up on the ground, finally finishing the fight from a mounted crucifix position. After the victory Esparza called for a shot at current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas who Esparza already has a history with, having beaten Namajunas to claim the inaugural strawweight title. But though many believe Esparza should be next in line, others, like UFC commentator and former two-division champion Daniel Cormier, are not so sure that’s in the cards.
“I believe that after what she did on Saturday, she has earned the title fight,” Cormier said on his ESPN show yesterday. “Now, it doesn’t work out like that in terms of what you’ve earned.
“It always doesn’t just (work like) ‘earn this, it belongs to me.’ It’s a number of other things but I do agree that it should be Carla. Carla has done everything she has needed to do and honestly, she beat Rose Namajunas. She dominated Rose Namajunas. That first fight off The Ultimate Fighter, it wasn’t like it was close. She beat her up. She took her down over and over again, she beat her up. They should fight again, but with who Zhang Weili became as the champion, I don’t know if that’s a bad fight, in terms of the rematch because the fight was so quick you don’t know if Zhang Weili just got caught.”
Cormier may well be right. Last month, Namajunas became the first female fighter in UFC history to reclaim a title, knocking out then-champion Weili Zhang with a head kick just 78 seconds into their title fight at UFC 261. But despite the quick KO and Esparza’s impressive performance last weekend, UFC President Dana White admitted to be unsure if Esparza would get the next title shot or if they would run it back between Namajunas and Weili. It was a declaration that stirred up some ire amongst the fans but one the Cormier can at least see the logic behind given how impressive Weili had been in her UFC career up until then.
“It was a minute fight!” Cormier said.” You can’t tell in a one-minute fight – you can’t say ‘Well, she was just better.’ Rose had a great set-up to a kick that knocked her out but Weili had become – let me tell you something, Weili got booed a bit, she’d never been booed before and it really did affect her. Sometimes it gets hard. I’m saying Carla deserves (the title shot) but Zhang Weili as the champion who beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the fight of the decade, who won the title in phenomenal fashion against Jessica Andrade, I’m not saying that she is undeserving. But yes, Carla has earned but just having earned something doesn’t always equate to getting it in the UFC.”
If the UFC does choose to pass over Esparza it wouldn’t be unprecedented but it would be a tough look. Esparza is currently on a five-fight winning streak with four of those wins coming over ranked opponents. However, there is no arguing with her performance on Saturday and given that, Cormier is hoping the UFC does right by the former champion.
“For me personally, I’m tuning in to watch Rose Namajunas versus Carla Esparza,” Cormier said. “Honestly, I’m tuning in to watch Rose Namajunas fight anybody and if Carla Esparza can ground her like she did the first time, two-time UFC strawweight champion. And the way she looked Saturday against Yan Xiaonan, Carla Esparza is scary because Yan Xiaonan is good. Yan Xiaonan is a good fighter and the way she beat her is crazy.”
Every middleweight champion in UFC history.
Paul Felder being an absolute animal.
Justin Gaethje and Trevor Wittman discussing their relationship.
Conor vs. Oliveira.
Big John with the heat.
Joshua Fabia is a Snake oil salesman. He is a conman. The fact that he has come out saying anything about Diego, his problems or financial situation shows his lack of character & best of all he is saying the NSAC told Diego to throw a fight??? 100% full of shit, flat out LIAR!!! https://t.co/4NOAaCuxcl
— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) May 24, 2021
That’s for sure.
Deiveson Figueiredo is bricked up.
People are so damn talented.
Lightweight: The number three and four guys will fight to determine the next champion, skipping over a former champion who recently lost and is ranked above them both..
Strawweight: The number three and four women will fight to probably not get a title fight in favor of a former champion who is ranked above both of them who just lost getting another shot at it.
The UFC is a beacon of consistency.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.