Carla Esparza vs Yan Xiaonan Booked for May 22nd as the Potential Number One UFC Strawweight Contender

Published 03/01/2021, 12:03 AM EST


The women’s strawweight division in the UFC is buzzing with talent at the moment. The division has a dominant champion in Weili Zhang, who is looking unbeatable at the moment. However, the UFC’s conveyor belt of talent ensures that there is no shortage of young and hungry contenders to challenge the champion. According to recent reports, it seems as though Carla Esparza or Yan Xiaonan could be fighting for the title next. 

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Reports have confirmed that a verbal agreement is in place for a fight between the fourth-ranked Cookie Monster’ and the third-ranked Nine’. Based on the rankings, and the timeline of the potential Namajunas vs Zhang bout, the winner of the fight will most likely fight for UFC gold in their next outing. 

Read: List of UFC fighters who will return in April 

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Carla Esparza will look to earn a shot to reclaim her belt

Esparza was the first champion in the women’s strawweight division. She claimed the belt at The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 finale against Rose Namajunas. Since then, she has remained one of the best fighters in the division. 

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 26: (L-R) Carla Esparza punches Marina Rodriguez of Brazil in their strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 26, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Cookie Monster’ is currently on a four-fight win streak which includes wins over the likes of Marina Rodriguez, Michelle Waterson, Alexa Grasso, and Virna Jandiroba. A win against an up-and-coming fighter in Xiaonan will not only extend her win streak to 5-0, but also give her the chance to fight for the belt once again. 

Yan Xiaonan could set up an all Asian clash for the belt

Fury’ has been tearing through the division ever since joining the UFC. She is currently on a six-fight win streak with wins over the likes of Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and Angela Hill.

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If Xiaonan is able to get past ‘Cookie Monster’ and ‘Magnum’ is able to get past Namajunas, it would set up an epic clash between two of the best fighters from Asia. 

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 07: (R-L) Yan Xiaonan of China punches Claudia Gadelha of Brazil in a strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

It is no secret that the UFC and Dana White are looking at capturing the Asian market as well. Hence, a fight between the two women in Asia would be just the event to kick start the UFC in the region. 

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What do you make of the fight between Esparza and Xiaonan? Who do you think wins the fight?

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Kevin Binoy

839 articles

Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.

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