When it was over, Esparza got the nod by split decision as she earned a second win over Namajunas after previously defeating her at The Ultimate Fighter season 20 finale to become the inaugural UFC 115-pound champion. While there wasn’t much action whatsoever, it was a close fight and Namajunas believed she did enough to win but it’s unlikely there will be a trilogy any time soon if ever again.
That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who addressed the possibility at the post-fight press conference on Saturday night.
“I don’t think anyone is clamoring for that rematch,” White said. “We’ll have to figure something else out. Rose is one of the best, she’s always going to be there. We’ll see what happens.
“You’ve got [Zhang] Weili and Joanna [Jedrzejczyk], so when that fight happens. 100-percent [that’s a No. 1 contender’s fight].”
As White stated, former champions Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk are scheduled to clash at UFC 275 on June 11 and it appears the winner will be the leading candidate to draw Esparza in her first title defense.
Jedrzejczyk was actually the fighter who dethroned Esparza the first time around after putting on a blistering performance to win the title back in 2015.
As far as the rematch that took place in the co-main event at UFC 274, White stopped short of taking unnecessary shots at Esparza or Namajunas for a lackluster affair that had a restless Phoenix crowd showering them with far more boos than cheers.
“That was a weird fight,” White said. “It seemed like they didn’t want to engage. I think there was a total of six punches thrown in the first round. That’s a tough one. It happens sometimes.”
White definitely didn’t seem to take issue with the decision, which could be another reason why he’s not exactly upset at the outcome much less pushing to see Esparza and Namajunas meet again for a third time.
As much as Namajunas was convinced she won, White wasn’t ready to back her up because he admittedly lost interest as the fight was happening.
“I don’t even know,” White said about the scoring. “I started zoning out like halfway through it. I don’t know.”
For now, Esparza can just start celebrating her win while preparing for her wedding next Saturday and she’ll likely take a vested interest in the fight between Zhang and Jedrzejczyk in June to determine her next opponent.