After extending her winning streak to five fights at UFC Vegas 27, it’s hard to deny Carla Esparza an opportunity to fight for the strawweight title, but it’s still happening. Following Esparza’s second-round TKO victory over Yan Xiaonan, UFC President Dana White would not commit to making her the next challenger to champion Rose Namajunas, so “The Cookie Monster” has taken matters into her own hands and spoke up about why she feels she deserves the next title fight.
Making an appearance on Unlocking The Cage with Jimmy Smith on Sirius XM, Esparza spoke about why she feels she should be next in line for a title fight. She wouldn’t deny, however, that the uncertainty about what’s next is weighing on her mind.
🔊 "I'm tired of being the gatekeeper, it's time for me to have my turn."
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) May 24, 2021
“Of course it’s on my mind. I worked so hard to get to this point, I want that title fight, I want that title fight really bad. Not only do I want it but I deserve and I think it’s an intriguing fight, I think it’s one the fans really want to see. It’s a rematch I even want to see, I’m excited for it. It’s really out of my control but I’m going to keep calling for that rematch.”
Seven years after their first meeting which saw Carla Esparza walk away with the inaugural strawweight title, she believes riding a five-fight winning streak at 33 years old, she’s at the right moment in her career to rematch the reigning champion, Rose Namajunas.
“In my opinion that fight needs to happen in 2021 like. now.
During her winning streak, Esparaza has continued to be matched up with young rising prospects, feeling as if the UFC views her as a gatekeeper, and she’s put an end to that notion.
“I feel like the UFC has put me in this position a lot to kind of be the gatekeeper of the division and I’ve stopped most of all the young whippersnappers that are contenders. I still feel like I’m strong and I’m trying to make a statement in this division and I’m not done with it. But I’m tired of being the gatekepeer, it’s time for me to have my turn.”
It truly is hard to deny Carla Esparaza a title shot given her recent success, especially given the quality of the opponents she’s continued to knock off. If the UFC is going to keep it up in the air about what’s next, she will continue to call for the title fight she most certainly deserves.