Carla Esparza is looking to cap off an up-and-down 2017 with a win on Saturday night at UFC 219 against fellow strawweight contender Cynthia Calvillo. “The Cookie Monster” enters this weekend with a 12-4 record and fresh off the heels of a unanimous decision victory over Maryna Moroz.
While Esparza is no longer the top fighter at 115-pounds, there is no denying her accolades inside of the cage.
Before coming to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2014, Esparza earned the inaugural Invicta FC strawweight championship. She signed with the UFC a few months later for season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter which introduced the 115-pound weight class to the top promotion in mixed martial arts.
After fighting through a star-studded tournament, Esparza choked out current champion Rose Namajunas to claim the TUF 20 crown and inaugural UFC women’s strawweight title.
Esparza would go on to lose the title just three months later to Joanna Jędrzejczyk, and she has alternated wins and losses ever since. With a win at UFC 219, Esparza would secure back-to-back victories forthe first time since 2013-14.
The 30-year-old trains out of Team Oyama in Irvine, Calif.
Esparza,who also competed in Bellator MMA’s first women’s tournament, is of Mexican, Ecuadorian and Irish descent.