UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza doesn’t feel the need to rush into a title defense against Zhang Weili anytime soon.
Weili looks to be the next title challenger in the division, as she is coming off a stunning spinning backfist KO over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 275. he former champion is looking to reclaim what she lost to Rose Namjunas back at UFC 261.
Esparza won the title off of Rose Namajunas last month at UFC 274. It may have gone down as one of the most anticlimactic fights in championship history, but Esparza was able to claim victory that night and feels no need to jump into another fight anytime soon.
Carla Esparza feels like she should have that luxury as the champion, and that Weili should be fighting on her timeline, not what is best for Weili.
“I definitely don’t feel like I’m in a position where I should rush just because Weili wants a certain date,” Esparza said. “I’m not trying to go on her timeline. I’m the champion, and I feel she needs to go on my timeline.” (Transcribed by the New York Post)
The first title reign Esparza had, she felt as if she rushed into a few fights too quickly and ultimately led to her losing the belt. This time around, she won’t make the same mistake.
“That was honestly a big regret of mine, letting the pressure push me into jumping back so quickly after having gone through so much fighting [on] ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ ” she said. “That was my fifth fight in eight months. It’s really draining. That was a big regret of mine, not letting myself recover a little bit and jumping straight back into it because feeling pressured and wanting to make the UFC happy. But in the end, if I’m losing my title, then what was it all worth anyway?”
The fight will be made, but there is no timeline set in place just yet.