Carla Esparza says she has come to terms with her loss to Zhang Weili.
In the first defense of her second reign as UFC strawweight champion, Esparza lost to Weili by second-round rear-naked choke at UFC 281. Following her loss, the ‘Cookie Monster’ said she had ‘no regrets’ over her performance, and she told Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie that she still has none.
“Honestly, I’m at peace with it,” said Esparza at the World MMA Awards. “I think after fighting for so long, you just know it’s a part of the game — wins and losses. I’ve been doing this for 13-plus years, so at the end of the day, I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished up until this point, and I feel good about it. I’m in a good place.”
Esparza found herself in a similar situation to that of the first defense of her first reign. Several months after winning the inaugural UFC strawweight championship, the Team Oyama product lost it to Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 185. She would go on to alternate between wins and losses before Esparza hit her stride.
With six consecutive wins, Esparza earned a championship opportunity against Rose Namajunas, who she dethroned at UFC 274 this past May. Because she has climbed the proverbial ladder before, the 35-year-old is confident she can do it again.
“I just want to take it day-by-day, fight-by-fight,” said Esparza. “In the next couple of years, definitely having a family is really important to me. I think I’m still in the talks, I’m obviously still in the top five, so I don’t think making my way back is too far out of that realm, but I’m just kind of taking it fight-by-fight.
“We’ll see,” continued Esparza. “I’m not done in the fight game, I still have business to do. We’ll see what step I take next.”
There is no word on when Esparza expects to return to the Octagon.
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