When Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza submitted Rose Namajunas in The Ultimate Fighter 20 finale, she became the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion. Her first title defense did not fare well for her, however, with current champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk pummeling her to a TKO in the second round. She then was sidelined for much of 2015 due to a shoulder injury.
Now, with Jessica Aguilar (who defeated Esparza at Bellator 46) out of UFC 197 due to a knee injury, Esparza is making a comeback in the division that she helped create, stepping in to fight Juliana Lima at UFC 197.
The announcement comes just a few days after the former champ expressed over Twitter her eagerness to get back in the game.
update on when I'm going to fight again: I am ready to fight. Just been waiting for a spot to open up on a card. Hopefully soon😊👊🏽.#UFC199??
— Carla Esparza (@CarlaEsparza1) March 24, 2016