Former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza has been excluded from the latest rankings and will not be eligible for the time being. Although it is common for fighters to lose their rankings or drop a few spots, in this case, the “Cookie Monster” has been removed entirely from the rankings. The last time Esparza competed in the UFC octagon was at UFC 281 on November 12, 2022, where she faced Zhang Weili and lost her strawweight title. In the following months, she shared her pregnancy news and welcomed her son in September.
Carla will be excluded from the updated rankings
The rankings panel has been informed that Carla will be left out of the upcoming updated rankings this week. She has been removed from ranking eligibility in the women’s strawweight division due to inactivity. The former strawweight champion’s inactivity serves as the apparent reason for her omission from the updated rankings, with many fans finding this puzzling, especially considering instances where other fighters such as Colby Covington have had periods of inactivity but still maintained their rankings. Covington also challenged welterweight champion Leon Edwards on his return after nearly two years.
Inconsistency of the rule has sparked questions among fans
Former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor faced demotion from the rankings in December last year due to over a year of inactivity. Surprisingly, other fighters who experienced similar periods of inactivity, such as Michael Chandler, Brian Ortega and Paulo Costa, were not removed from the rankings. Inconsistency in the application of this rule has sparked discussion among fans and analysts about the criteria used to remove fighters from the rankings due to inactivity.
Esparza, other than limited activity with only one fight in 2021, has generally been an active fighter, averaging two fights per year. With her extensive MMA career dating back to 2010, her drop from the rankings raises questions as to whether this could possibly signal her retirement from the sport.