Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight Claudia Gadelha took on Carla Esparza at UFC 225 in June winning via split decision, although it was marred by controversy as Esparza claimed Gadelha “greased up” before their bout, making her difficult to get a hold of.
Gadelha defended the accusations made by Esparza, claiming that “The Cookie Monster” was just using excuses for how the fight played out and that these kinds of practices are a thing of the past and would be picked up by the athletic commission before she even entered the Octagon.
A week before the fight, Gadelha suffered a knee injury which forced a change in her game plan as she was unable to stay standing for an extended amount of time and continually forced the takedown.
The 29 year-old Brazilian has now undergone surgery to repair the knee and told MMA Junkie that she is open to a rematch against Esparza in September in Brazil:
“We’re talking September, maybe a rematch with Carla in Brazil,” Gadelha said. “I’m still in shape. I feel good, I just need to take care of my knee. If I can get healthy then I can fight her in September again.
“(I don’t need to) prove a point, but I got hurt before the fight. … I wasn’t 100 percent. I had to keep taking her down because I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t put my weight on my right knee, so I had to keep taking her down and that’s all I did the entire fight.”
While their first fight ended via a split decision, Gadelha was confident she did enough to earn the victory. Gadelha believes a rematch doesn’t do much for her in her quest to become the champion, although she sees it as a chance to prove a point on how good she can be fully fit and without the issues with her knee.
“I’m 100 percent sure that I won,” Gadelha said. “For me, it wouldn’t add anything, but it would keep me busy. She wants the rematch so bad, and I fought her with one leg because my knee was pretty bad. I would fight her again just for that.”