On Friday, December 12, 2014 Carla “The Cookie Monster” Esparza made history at The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale when she submitted Rose Namajunas to become the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion.

As the top seed heading into the competition, expectations were high for Esparza and she lived up to those expectations every time she stepped into the Octagon beating Angela Hill, Tecia Torres and Jessica Penne to earn her place in the finale.

Unlike past seasons of The Ultimate Fighter because there was an actual UFC title on the line, this past season the contestants were seeded and placed into a traditional competition bracket. While no one’s journey to a final is easy, number one seeds generally have an easier path. That was not the case for Esparza.

After submitting the 16th-seeded Hill in the first round of the tournament, Esparza had to then face the the 3rd-seeded Torres. Torres originally lost her opening round bout to underdog Randa Markos but due to an injury to Justine Kish Torres had the opportunity to come back and beat Bec Rawlings in the first round of the competition.

Esparza was able to edge Torres by majority decision which set up a showdown with Penne, the four seed. Esparza would go on to win to earn her spot in the finale, but just think about that road for a second.

Esparza was the number 1 seed in the competition yet she had to beat two top-5 seeds just to get to the finale.

Now as the UFC women’s strawweight champion Esparza can breath a little easy…for now anyway. She has accomplished something very few fighters have and something no other strawweight has; she is a UFC champion.

Let’s take a moment to congratulate Esparza on this historic accomplishment and take a look at some of her finest career moments.


About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.