A title rematch that’s been rumored for quite some time is finally coming to fruition with women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas set to go up against Carla Esparza for a second time in the co-main event of UFC 274 in Pheonix on May 7th.
The first fight between these two came at the culmination of The Ultimate Fighter 20 back in 2014, with the winner set to be crowned the UFC’s first ever strawweight champion.
In the end it was Esparza who upset the odds to emerge victorious via a third round rear-naked choke submission, but she lost the belt in her very next fight against another rising star at the time Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Esparza had a few ups and downs after that, but since 2019 she’s gone undefeated in five fights, beating the likes of Alexa Grasso, Michelle Waterson, Marina Rodriguez and most recently Yan Xioanan along the way to battle her way back into title contention.
As for Namajunas, she rebounded strongly after her loss to Esparza, going a total of 9-2 since, including two separate stints as strawweight champion, with her first reign seeing her defeat the aforementioned Jedrzekczyk twice in a row before losing to Jessica Andrade.
She then avenged that loss against Andrade next time out and then defeated Zhang Weili to win back the belt, before beating her for a second time back in November.
Namajunas vs. Esparza will serve as the co-main event on a UFC 274 card that’ll be headlined by a lightweight title encounter between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.