Rose Namajunas may suspiciously get the boot from the UFC strawweight title picture in favor of Weili Zhang vs. Carla Esparza.
When talking to Caroline Pearce from BT Sport, UFC president Dana White made comments about what could be in store for UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang. White suggested the promotion would pass over Namajunas in favor of Esparza, accusing the former of rejecting a title shot.
"What I'm hearing is Rose does not want a title shot," White said (h/t Aaron Bronsteter of TSN). "So we're looking at the rankings and how it plays out, it would play out as Weili vs. Carla Esparza."
ESPN's Ariel Helwani reached Rose Namajunas' fiancee and coach Pat Barry for comment. Barry firmly and definitively rejected the idea that Rose does not want a title shot.
I asked Rose Namajunas’ coach/fiancé Pat Barry about this.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 16, 2020
“That is absolutely not true. We absolutely want the title fight.
Who would turn down a title fight? We just dont want to air this out publicly. If there was some confusion they can call us to clear it up." https://t.co/qoxmzLGyxk
Zhang last fought back in March in the co-main event of UFC 248 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, in what is a leading candidate for 2020's fight of the year. Esparza, who won the UFC's inaugural strawweight champion back in 2015, is currently ranked fourth in the UFC strawweight rankings. Esparza is on a four-fight winning streak, including wins over Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez. Namajunas, meanwhile, is coming off a victory over former champion Jessica Andrade in June.