“I don’t expect Weili to come out like Rose in my last fight,” Esparza said. “You never know, but I feel like it really takes two to dance and I’m definitely going into this fight to finish and look to win and have an exciting fight. For my part, I hope to get this finish and rectify things.
On the other side of the canvas at UFC 281 will be Zhang, who will enter the fray fresh from his impressive knockout win over future Hall of Famer Jedrzejczyk. The emphatic win caught Esparza’s attention and is part of the reason she thinks fans will be happy with the fight they see on November 12.
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“I think Weili is obviously a very high level opponent, she’s a former champion and she’s had a lot of dominant finishes, especially that last one from Joanna, which I don’t think a lot of people saw coming because their first fight was so competitive,” Esparza said. “I think it shows her evolution and how much she’s improving, not just on the feet, which she’s always been good at, but grappling as well. I just think at that level she and everyone else fighting for the title is going to be dangerous everywhere.
Esparza knows that all of these same factors apply to her game as well, and she looks forward to the opportunity to silence the critics and show the world why she is the undisputed strawweight champion.
“I think beating Weili will solidify my legacy,” she said. “I’m going to defend my title at UFC 281 because I’ve trained so hard, worked so hard and I’m going for that finish.”