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

UFC 197 Results: Former Champ Carla Esparza Decisions Juliana Lima

  • 8 days ago
  • 5 views

Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza returned to action for the first time in 13 months on Saturday, defeating Juliana Lima by unanimous decision at UFC 197. read news >>

VIDEO: Former UFC Champ Carla Esparza Not Down for Last-Minute Title Fight

  • a day ago
  • 49 views

Former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza isn't sure that she'd be down to accept a last-minute fight to regain the title. read news >>

Ex-champ Carla Esparza discusses why she nixed media, full camp prior to UFC 197 win

  • 8 days ago
  • 4 views

LAS VEGAS – Former and inaugural UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza admittedly wanted to fly under the radar heading into Saturday’s UFC 197 event.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (1 p.m. ET): Carla Esparza and Kevin Lee

  • 7 days ago
  • 5 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Carla Esparza and Kevin Lee.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2191 with Carla Esparza and Kevin Lee

  • 6 days ago
  • 3 views

Stream or download Monday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Carla Esparza and Kevin Lee.Filed under: News, Radio, UFC read news >>

The Ultimate Fighter Blog: Amanda Cooper - Ep. 2

  • 5 days ago
  • 0 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 >>

Letourneau to Face Calderwood in Ottawa

  • 4 days ago
  • 3 views

Fresh from her five-round battle with strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 193 in November, Canadian star Valerie Letourneau will return to fight in Canada on Saturday, June 18, read news >>

WSOF 30 Video Highlights: Jon Fitch Defeats Joao Zeferino to Capture Welterweight Title

  • 29 days ago
  • 62 views

Jon Fitch captured the World Series of Fighting welterweight championship on Saturday by defeating Joao Zeferino in the WSOF 30 co-main event in Las Vegas. read news >>

UFC strawweight Paige VanZant recaps Episode No. 3 of 'Dancing with the Stars'

  • 26 days ago
  • 6 views

On Monday, UFC strawweight Paige VanZant returned on Season 22 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Today, she talked to MMAjunkie about her appearance on the season’s third episode.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Joanna Jedrzejczyk, TUF 23 and the State of the UFC Strawweight Division

  • 20 days ago
  • 16 views

The UFC is failing its strawweight fighters. There is no other way to look at its handling of the division. In the time since Bleacher Report rolled out the State of the Flyweight Division (the first read news >>