Joanna Jedrzejczyk's retirement didn't surprise UFC champ Carla Esparza, who 'would've loved' rematch

By Simon Samano and Mike Bohn | June 28, 2022 8:45 pm ET Would UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza have welcomed a rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk? Sure. Is Esparza surprised that won’t happen now after Jedrzejczyk retired? She’s not. Jedrzejczyk (16-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) announced her decision to call it a career earlier this month at UFC 275 after she was knocked out by Zhang Weili in her return to the octagon from a more than two-year absence. As a result, Esparza (19-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is expected to defend her title next against former champ Weili. “I don’t think I was really that surprised,” Esparza told MMA Junkie of Jedrzejczyk’s retirement. “If someone’s gonna sit out for two years and be on somewhat of a losing streak, although she has fought the highest competition, I think for her, just judging on what I always heard her say, she wants to be the best, she wants to be a champion. With losing that fight, I think it was gonna be a far road back, and I can see why she walked away from it.” A win for Jedrzejczyk would’ve given Esparza the opportunity to avenge her loss in March 2015 when Jedrzejczyk TKO’d Esparza in the second round to take the title from her, ending her first reign without a defense. Esparza, 34, said it would’ve been nice to try and get that one back, but she’s not shocked it won’t happen. “There’s always a disappointment. But I mean, doing it this long, so many people that I’ve fought have stepped away from the sport. It just kind of comes with being in the sport this many years,” Esparza said. “I’ve kind of accepted you’re not always gonna get that rematch chance. … I would’ve loved to have had that opportunity, because I feel that I’ve grown so much as a fighter. But I’m happy for her and for her journey from here on out.” Breaking, Carla Esparza, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, video, News, UFC, Videos

Joanna Jedrzejczyk's retirement didn't surprise UFC champ Carla Esparza, who 'would've loved' rematch

Would UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza have welcomed a rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk? Sure. Is Esparza surprised that won’t happen now after Jedrzejczyk retired? She’s not.

Jedrzejczyk (16-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) announced her decision to call it a career earlier this month at UFC 275 after she was knocked out by Zhang Weili in her return to the octagon from a more than two-year absence. As a result, Esparza (19-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is expected to defend her title next against former champ Weili.

“I don’t think I was really that surprised,” Esparza told MMA Junkie of Jedrzejczyk’s retirement. “If someone’s gonna sit out for two years and be on somewhat of a losing streak, although she has fought the highest competition, I think for her, just judging on what I always heard her say, she wants to be the best, she wants to be a champion. With losing that fight, I think it was gonna be a far road back, and I can see why she walked away from it.”

A win for Jedrzejczyk would’ve given Esparza the opportunity to avenge her loss in March 2015 when Jedrzejczyk TKO’d Esparza in the second round to take the title from her, ending her first reign without a defense.

Esparza, 34, said it would’ve been nice to try and get that one back, but she’s not shocked it won’t happen.

“There’s always a disappointment. But I mean, doing it this long, so many people that I’ve fought have stepped away from the sport. It just kind of comes with being in the sport this many years,” Esparza said. “I’ve kind of accepted you’re not always gonna get that rematch chance. … I would’ve loved to have had that opportunity, because I feel that I’ve grown so much as a fighter. But I’m happy for her and for her journey from here on out.”

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