Carla EsparzaFor Invicta FC 115-pound title contender Carla Esparza, last year was a banner year.

“I think 2012 couldn’t have gone better,” Esparza told MMAWeekly.com. “I really displayed my wrestling in fights, which is something I was scared to do in previous years.

“I think it’s something I always had, but I was possibly not as confident in my jiu-jitsu, so I didn’t want to take people down or do this or that. Now that my ground and pound is coming along, I feel comfortable standing or on the ground. It will be great to have that wrestling and decide where the fight goes.”

Originally Esparza was set to start off 2013 against Claudia Gadelha on Saturday night for the Invicta 115-pound title, but due to injury, in steps Bec Hyatt.

While some portions of her game plan will have to change due to the different styles of her opponents, some areas remain the same for Esparza.

“I think my advantage is, I’ve been in a bad spot and I’ve come out of it,” said Esparza. “She hasn’t gone to many decision fights, so I can definitely push the pace and in the later rounds it’s going to wear on her.

“Strength has never been an issue for me. I don’t think she’s just going to overpower me and stop my game plan.”

Getting the opportunity to headline Invicta’s first show of the year and fight for a title brings its own special kind of pressure. But dealing with those kinds of expectations is nothing new according to Esparza.

“It’s pressure definitely, but every fight is pressure to me, headline or not,” said Esparza. “I feel honored that I have this fight and it makes me feel like I want to perform. I know I’m going to have a lot of eyes on me, so it’s more pressure on me to train hard and show my skillset out there.”

For Esparza, taking the Invicta strawweight belt Saturday night will be just another step towards her larger goal of being recognized as the absolute best fighter in her division, period.

Invicta FC 4 on PPV“Generally it’s fight to fight, but the goal is always to have a belt, to be No. 1 in the world,” said Esparza. “I’ve been working towards that, and whether it takes two or three fights or ten fights, that’s what I want.

“I think (this fight) is going to sustain that I deserve to be where I’m at and be in that cage fighting for the title and I deserve to have it.”

Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for all of your Invicta FC 4 news and updates.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

The Ultimate Fighter Blog: Amanda Cooper - Ep. 7 Preview

  • 28 days ago
  • 9 views

Amanda Cooper is a strawweight contestant on Season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs Team Claudia. This season Cooper has signed on to write weekly blog posts that offer the inside scoop on read news >>

The Ultimate Fighter 23: Ep. 7 Preview

  • 28 days ago
  • 7 views

Strawweight Jamie Moyle looks to get Team Joanna's first win against Team Claudia's Amanda Cooper on tonight's all-new The Ultimate Fighter at 10pm/7pm ETPT. read news >>

The Ultimate Fighter Blog: Amanda Cooper - Ep. 7 Recap

  • 23 days ago
  • 13 views

Amanda Cooper is a strawweight contestant on Season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs Team Claudia. This season Cooper has signed on to write weekly blog posts that offer the inside scoop on read news >>

UFC 201 Gets Namajunas-Kowalkiewicz Showdown

  • 23 days ago
  • 0 views

Respected strawweight contenders will square off in the Octagon on July 30, as No. 3-ranked Rose Namajunas takes on No. 6-ranked Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a UFC 201 bout at Philips Arena in Atlanta. read news >>

Rose Namajunas Faces Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 201

  • 21 days ago
  • 33 views

An intriguing matchup between strawweight contenders Rose Namajunas and Karolina Kowalkiewicz has been added to the July 30, UFC 201 fight card in Atlanta. read news >>

Casey, Stanciu Square Off in Sioux Falls

  • 14 days ago
  • 2 views

The UFC Fight Night event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will see an intriguing strawweight showdown when Cortney Casey faces Cristina Stanciu on July 13. read news >>

Letourneau, Calderwood make history in first UFC female flyweight bout

  • 13 days ago
  • 2 views

Valerie Letourneau, the No. 5-ranked strawweight, and No. 12-ranked Calderwood will make history on Saturday when they meet in the first UFC female flyweight bout at Fight Night Ottawa. read news >>

UFC 200 Free Fight: Daniel Cormier Taps Out Anthony Johnson to Capture the Title

  • 3 days ago
  • 48 views

Daniel Cormier earned the UFC light heavyweight title when he defeated one of the most feared strikers in the division in Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. read news >>

Paige VanZant Shot Down WWE and Movie Role for UFC Return

  • 2 days ago
  • 28 views

UFC strawweight Paige VanZant shot down WWE opportunity and a major movie role to fight Bec Rawlings. read news >>