Carla Esparza

Carla Esparza wasn’t surprised Joanna Jedrzejczyk retired but ‘would’ve loved’ to get the rematch

Carla Esparza wasn’t shocked when Joanna Jedrzejczyk announced her retirement from MMA after her UFC 275 knockout loss to Zhang Weili.

Weili and Jedrzejczyk were set to have their rematch in a highly-anticipated fight after Zhang edged out a split decision to defend her strawweight title in March of 2020 in one of the best fights of all time. In the rematch, it was Zhang winning again but this time by spinning backfist KO, and after the loss, Jedrzejczyk announced her retirement which wasn’t that big of a surprise to the champ in Esparza.

“I don’t think I was really that surprised,” Esparza told MMA Junkie of Jedrzejczyk’s retirement. “If someone’s gonna sit out for two years and be on somewhat of a losing streak, although she has fought the highest competition, I think for her, just judging on what I always heard her say, she wants to be the best, she wants to be a champion. With losing that fight, I think it was gonna be a far road back, and I can see why she walked away from it.”

Although Carla Esparza wasn’t surprised that Joanna Jedrzejczyk retired from MMA, she says she was a bit disappointed the rematch won’t happen. The two fought way back at UFC 185 in 2015 with Jedrzejczyk winning by second-round TKO to become the new champ.

Now that Esparza is the champ again, she had hoped the fight would come together but now will turn her focus to Zhang Weili.

“There’s always a disappointment. But I mean, doing it this long, so many people that I’ve fought have stepped away from the sport. It just kind of comes with being in the sport this many years,” Esparza said. “I’ve kind of accepted you’re not always gonna get that rematch chance. … I would’ve loved to have had that opportunity, because I feel that I’ve grown so much as a fighter. But I’m happy for her and for her journey from here on out.”

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