Fighter Profile: Carla Esparza

UFC Fight Night: Xiaonan v Esparza
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Former Invicta and UFC Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza has been out of the UFC Octagon since she beat Yan Xiaonan in May of 2021. Esparza is supposedly next in line for a shot at Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas. Who she won the Inaugural UFC Strawweight belt against all the way back in 2014. Fans definitely want to see this matchup again, even if Dana White doesn’t. Esparza has a five fight win streak and it’d be great to see her face Namajunas.

Esparza was born October 10, 1987 in Torrance, CA. She would attend Redondo Union High School wrestling for the varsity team during her junior year. She would win a few tournaments and would have the option to go to college for wrestling which she did. Esparza would attend Menlo College, a NAIA Division 1 School. She’d become an All American in Wrestling under the tutelage of coach and former two-time Olympian Lee Allen. Esparza in addition to wrestling while in college would also take up Brazillian Jiu Jitsu under Rener, Ryron, and Ralek Gracie at the Gracie Academy in Torrance. She is currently a Brown Belt. 

Cassie Trost was Esparza’s first MMA opponent in February of 2010. Esparza would win by TKO (Punches) in round one. Esparza would then face Karina Hallinan winning by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) She’d then face Lacey Sears she’d win by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in round two. She’d then get the first loss of her career when she stepped into the cage against Megumi Fujii for Bellator. She’d then get two wins in a row against Nina Nunes (née Ansaroff) and Yadira Anzaldua. She’d then drop a fight to Jessica Aguilar. She’d win her next three fights before competing for the Invicta Strawweight belt against Bec Rawlings she’d win by Unanimous Decision.

Esparza would then get the call to be on the Ultimate Fighter 20 Women’s Strawweight tournament.Esparza would face Angela Hill, Tecia Torres, and Jessica Penne on the Ultimate fighter Earning her a spot in the show’s live finale. She’d face Rose Namajunas winning by Submission (rear-naked choke) and thus winning the show and the first UFC Strawweight belt. She’d lose the belt in her next fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Esparza would win three of her next four before dropping two in a row to Claudia Gadelha and Tatiana Suarez. She’s currently riding a five fight win streak including victories over Michelle Waterson, Marina Rodriguez, and Yan Xiaonan.

We hope to see Esparza fight soon, and we hope it’s for the belt.

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