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Carla Esparza reacts to UFC 268 title fight snub: ‘I got next’

Carla Esparza
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Carla Esparza is staying ready for her shot.

The top-ranked strawweight contender—currently No. 3 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings—apparently isn’t stressing about being passed over for a chance to regain the UFC’s 115-pound title, which will be defended by champion Rose Namajunas in an immediate rematch against Zhang Weili at UFC 268 on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Esparza has built a strong case for her own rematch with Namajunas, having won her past five fights in addition to having a win over Namajunas in 2014. The two met in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter 20 for the right to become the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion and Esparza put on a dominant performance capped off by a third-round submission of Namajunas.

On Tuesday, Esparza posted on social media that she expects “good things will come” and that “I got next.”

Given her recent success and her win over Namajunas, Esparza seemed like a shoo-in to be Namajunas’ next challenger after “Thug Rose” scored a head kick knockout of Zhang in just 78 seconds at UFC 261 in April to begin her second championship reign. However, Zhang’s popularity and her value in the Chinese market appears to have been a deciding factor in the UFC immediately booking the Namajunas-Zhang sequel.

Esparza’s past three wins have come against three fighters ranked in the top 10 of MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings: No. 6 Yan Xiaonan, No. 5 Marina Rodriguez, and No. 8 Michelle Waterson.

See Esparza’s statement below:

I’ve worked many years to fight my way back to a title shot. I have faith good things will come, and in the meantime I will use this time to strength build and skill build! May the best woman win… I got next.

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