Carla Esparza appeared to be in a different world as she prepared to step inside the Octagon and face Joanna Jedrzejczyk Saturday night at UFC 185.
And maybe she was.
Maybe it was the pressure of her first strawweight title defense. Or the pressure of competing in a pay-per-view co-main event, but Esparza could never get on track, dropping the belt to Jedrzejczyk via second round TKO loss.
“I can’t take anything away from her,” she said. “But I didn’t feel like myself. There are no excuses. Only one person can come out with the win.”
Esparza, who won the title after the season-long Ultimate Fighter tournament by defeating Rose Namajunas, was denied on several takedown attempts. With that not working, she was unable to answer the striking of the muay Thai champion.
“She had great takedown defense,” Esparza said. “That’s on me. I felt like I wasn’t setting it up.”
While she didn’t want to make excuses, saying “injuries, personal things” are always going to be there, “I just fought and lost.”