In the way of that championship tonight is Esparza, the favorite to win the show from the time she was announced as part of the cast. And while drama ran rampant between the competitors on the show, there was no such heat between the two fighters battling it out for a world title tonight.
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“She strikes me as the type of fighter that really has the mindset of a champion,” Namajunas said of Esparza. “But I also feel like she lacks the confidence in herself at the same time. She thinks about what the other opponent can do a lot and that obviously keeps her on her toes, but I take a different approach. I’m just as nervous as her, but at the same time I have more of a ‘face my fears’ type of approach. But she’s always been super humble and respectful in the house and I never had any problems with her. She’s always been good to me and I respect the hell out of her, so I’m just looking forward to having a fight against the top contender in the house and putting on a good show with her.”
Before taping even began, I asked Namajunas what people should expect from her on The Ultimate Fighter. She confidently said “what I’m bringing to the table is that I’m going to be nothing that anybody has ever seen before.”
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To the world, she succeeded. Would she agree?
“I do believe so. It’s definitely not anything that anybody’s ever seen of me before. I think I even surprise myself sometimes with what I’ve been able to do. But I’m also constantly evolving, so it’s going to be different every time. That’s my goal, to keep getting better, and I’m always looking forward. Everything that you’ve seen before, even though it was great performance-wise, I’m looking forward to smashing that performance out of the water and bringing a new me every time.”