Dana White claims former strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas doesn’t want a title shot against Weili Zhang.
After Namajunas defeated Jessica Andrade at UFC 251, the hope for many was to see her fight Zhang. According to White, that was the plan, but after some talk with Namajunas, they have moved on to Carla Esparza as Namajunas doesn’t want the fight.
“What I’m hearing is Rose does not want a title shot,” White said to BT Sport. “Rose does not want to fight for the title. So we’re looking at the rankings and how it plays out. It would play out as Weili vs. [former strawweight champion] Carla Esparza.”
However, Rose Namajunas and her team say that is absolutely not true. Not only does she want to fight, but she wants to reclaim the strawweight title she lost in May of 2019.
“That is absolutely not true,” Pat Barry said to ESPN. “We absolutely want the title fight. Who would turn down a title fight? We just don’t want to air this out publicly. If there was some confusion, they can call us to clear it up.”
Namajunas returned to the win column last time out with the split decision win over Jessica Andrade. Before that, she suffered a slam KO loss to Andrade to lose her belt. The former TUF contestant won the belt by pulling off a massive upset as she knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She then beat Jedrzejczyk again to defend her belt for the first and only time.
Weili Zhang, meanwhile, is 21-1 and coming off her first title defense as she had the Fight of the Year against Jedrzejczyk by decision in March. She won the belt last August with a first-round TKO over Jessica Andrade. She also holds wins over Tecia Torres, Danielle Taylor, and Jessica Aguilar in the UFC.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime