Carla Esparza entered the UFC with plenty of hype. She was a member of The Ultimate Fighter which crowned the inaugural UFC strawweight champion as the promotion introduced the division to its fans and came away as the winner to cement herself in Ultimate Fighting Championship history.
Esparza earned UFC gold after entering her season of The Ultimate Fighter as the reigning Invicta FC strawweight titleholder. And after submitting current champion Rose Namajunas in the season finale, she had her hand raised.
“The Cookie Monster’s” title reign did not last long, however, dropping the title to Joanna Jędrzejczyk just three months later.
Esparza has since gone 3-1, bringing her UFC record to 13-4.
Esparza began her mixed martial arts career after starting wrestling for the varsity team as a junior at Redondo Union High School in California. She won a number of local and national high school wrestling tournaments before earning a scholarship to Menlo College where she would wrestle under former Olympian Lee Allen. Esparza went on to become an All-American and eventually picked up jiu-jitsu before joining Team Oyama to kickoff her MMA career.
Along with the UFC and Invicta Fighting Championships, Esparza has competed under the Bellator MMA banner.
Her next bout will come Saturday, June 9 against Claudia Gadelha at UFC 225 in Chicago. The event will air live on pay-per-view.
Check out more photos of Esparza from Instagram below.