Joanna Jedrzejczyk has jumped to the defense of former opponent and reigning UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza.
Carla Esparza will attempt to make the first defense of her UFC strawweight championship this Saturday when she takes on Zhang Weili in the UFC 281 co-main event. Earlier this week at a pre-fight press conference, Esparza received heavy boos from her home country crowd in New York, whilst China’s Zhang Weili was cheered.
Fans are not satisfied with the way in which Esparza won the title earlier this year, narrowly edging out Rose Namajunas via split decision in a fight which had very little action.
During a recent chat with reporters in New York, Jedrzejczyk defended Esparza and said she deserves a lot more respect from fans for what she has achieved.
“She’s the champ, she deserves respect and all the attention. It’s not only about being the best athlete, it’s about having the best character if fans see charisma in you or not. If I was becoming the strawweight champion for a second time, I would get bigger. I would double the amount of followers, money, contracts, everything. It looks like for Carla Esparza, it’s enough. It’s okay, we have to respect that, but she’s the champ so she deserves all the respect right now.” she explained.
Ironically, Jedrzejczyk defeated Carla Esparza to capture the UFC strawweight championship back in 2015. She would go on to defend it a total of five times before dropping the belt to Namajunas in 2017. The future UFC Hall of Famer retired from MMA competition earlier this year following a second-round knockout defeat to Zhang Weili.
UFC 281 takes place this Saturday, November 12, 2022, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States.