Another rematch is on tap for UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas.
“Thug” Rose is coming off a successful title defense against Weili Zhang at UFC 268 back in November. That bout was an immediate rematch of their April meeting at UFC 261, where Namajunas dethroned Zhang care of a head kick to reclaim the strawweight title — becoming the first fighter in Ultimate Fighting Championship history to win the same championship on two separate occasions.
Next up, according to UFC President Dana White, will be another rematch — with inaugural UFC champion Carla Esparza. White revealed the news while speaking to ESPN in a recent interview. When asked what was next for Namajunas, White’s reply was simple. “Carla Esparza. 100%.”
Namajunas (11-4) and Esparza (18-6) first met in 2014, in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 20, which introduced the women’s strawweight division in the promotion. At the time, Namajunas was fighting in just her fourth professional fight — with the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight title on the line.
She would lose via rear-naked choke in the third round. Esparza walked away with gold that night — only for Joanna Jedrzejczyk to claim the title in Esparza’s first attempt at defending it.
Three years later, Namajunas would face Jedrzejczyk, finishing her to claim her first UFC championship, then defending the title in an immediate rematch.
It appears things will come full circle in 2022. White did not reveal a date or location for Namajunas vs. Esparza 2, however.