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Carla Esparza open to Joanna Jedrzejczyk rematch: ‘I think it would be a much different fight’

The former strawweight champion is open to a fight with Jedrzejczyk again. 

Carla Esparza before her fight against Marina Rodriguez.
Carla Esparza before her fight against Marina Rodriguez.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Carla Esparza has two rematches to consider for her next fight in the UFC: Rose Namajunas or Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Though the former strawweight champion would prefer a crack at gold and another meeting against Namajunas right now, she has also expressed interest in avenging a loss to Jedrzejczyk in the near future.

Esparza cemented herself as the No. 1 contender with an impressive five-fight win streak that was punctuated with a second-round technical knockout of Yan Xiaonan at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt this past May. The ‘Cookie Monster’ figured that a dominant performance over a streaking contender like Xiaonan was enough to earn the championship opportunity she had been working her way towards over the years. Her belief was dashed when the UFC went in a different direction and scheduled an immediate rematch between Namajunas and Zhang Weili instead.

Esparza took the snub quite well and was content in waiting for Namajunas vs. Weili 2 to conclude so she could challenge the winner. That gamble proved to be detrimental in the eyes of UFC president Dana White, who said that it was “a really bad idea” for her to sit and wait. Esparza can only hope that cooler heads will prevail in the long run and she ultimately gets tapped to face Namajunas again. If not, then she is open to taking on Jedrzejczyk for a second time.

“I think at some point in my career, I’ve never actually had a rematch with anybody let alone coming off a loss,” Esparza told Damon Martin of MMA Fighting. “I think I’m a very different fighter from when that fight happened. I definitely at some point would like to fight her again. I think it would be a much different fight.”

The first fight happened over six years ago at UFC 185, where Esparza lost her championship to Jedrzejczyk via second-round technical knockout. Their paths have not crossed since then, but that could change soon because of the similar situation Esparza and Jedrzejczyk currently find themselves in.

Both women want a title shot opposite of Namajunas; however, the UFC brass has not given any indication that either of them would get it. Jedrzejczyk recently suggested they fight for the said shot, and in light of recent developments in the division, Esparza would be happy to oblige.

“I thought for me the best was Rose and I fighting and then Weili and Joanna fighting for a No. 1 contender’s spot,” said Esparza. “I thought that’s what really made sense in my fan brain of exciting matchups and what makes sense.

“I would definitely fight [Joanna] again. You want to be at the top, you’ve got to earn your way there.”