NEW YORK – Dana White won’t declare Carla Esparza a No. 1 title contender.

Although women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas (11-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) said Esparza would be the “logical step” after she retained her title against Zhang Weili this past Saturday at UFC 268, White may have other ideas.

“We have an option,” White said at the UFC 268 post-fight news conference when asked if Esparza is next in line for a title shot. “You don’t sit around and wait for fights – it’s a really bad idea.”

White had previously said that Esparza (18-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC) opting to wait for a title shot over competing wouldn’t be wise, and it appears he’s sticking by his statement. Although he didn’t say who’s next for Namajunas, the UFC president said a trilogy bout with Weili is not happening anytime soon.

“She just lost a fight,” White said of Weili. “She’s pretty far.”

No. 2-ranked Esparza has won five in a row, including a win over top contender Marina Rodriguez. Considering that Esparza holds a submission win over Namajunas to capture the inaugural women’s strawweight title at the TUF 20 Finale in 2014, a rematch likely wouldn’t be a hard sell.

Following UFC 268, Esparza took to social media to congratulate Namajunas for her hard-fought win over Weili. She refrained from directly calling the champion out, but said she’s ready to run things back whenever Namajunas is ready.


Twitter reacts to Rose Namajunas’ split decision title defense over Zhang Weili at UFC 268


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