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Carla Esparza responds to Fedor's anti-WMMA comments: It is the biggest female sport

UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza discusses Fedor Emelianenko’s recent comments against female fighting.

Several days ago, an interview with legendary Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko surfaced with some controversial quotes regarding his views on women's MMA.

While his viewpoint is on par with those of a devout Orthodox Christian from ethnic Russia, his quotes made headlines in the MMA community, and female fighters were forced to contend with his words.

"Women shouldn't compete in UFC/MMA because this sport is for men," Emelianenko said through his interpreter (transcription via "There are a lot of sports where women look like women - like gymnastics, water sports, maybe some athletics. MMA is for men. It's a man's sport."

UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza was asked about Fedor's comments following a UFC 185 pre-fight open workout. She did not seem disappointed with the legend's perspective on female fighting, and instead confidently mentioned UFC star Ronda Rousey.

"Facts speak for themselves. He is one of the greats, and I have nothing against him. Maybe we differ a bit in opinion (smiles). I think Ronda and the crowd that she brough to LA - the proof is in the pudding right there."

Esparza added that she believes WMMA is likely to be the biggest sport currently available for females to compete in.

"Honestly, I think female MMA is basically the biggest female sport out there right now. We're being put on the same stage as the guys, and sometimes Ronda (Rousey) headlining above the guys. That goes to show that we are on top right now."

While Rousey may one of the handful of fighters in the organization making millions, it is hard to compare her success to the financial consistency of other female sports such as tennis, where its top stars make tens of millions of dollars each year. Current world No. 2 Maria Sharapova made $27.9 million in 2014 ($22 million in endorsements and $5.9 in prize money).