After some initial reluctance from the promotion to grant Esparza (18-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC) the next crack at strawweight champion Namajunas (11-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC), White has changed his tune. He’s working on booking the rematch for 2022.
“Carla Esparza (is next),” White told ESPN in a recent interview. “100 percent.”
Following Namajunas’ successful title defense against Zhang Weili at UFC 268 in November, she hinted another fight with Esparza would be logical. Esparza submitted Namajunas in the UFC’s inaugural 115-pound title fight in December 2014 and is currently on a five-fight winning streak.
White wasn’t high on making the fight initially, though, and criticized Esparza for turning down a fight with Mackenzie Dern in favor of waiting for a title opportunity.
Namajunas stood firm in her desire to run it back, however, and told MMA Junkie at the 13th annual World MMA Awards earlier this month that she wanted the rematch.
“It’s the only one that makes sense,” Namajunas said. “I can fight anybody, but nothing really interests me other than Carla.”
Wish granted, and now it remains to be seen when and where the fight takes place.
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