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Nobody blames Carla Esparza for feeling a little left out right now.

If that is indeed how she feels.

So far, it’s kind of hard to tell. As the UFC’s first strawweight champion prepares to make the first defense of her title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk on Saturday at UFC 185, you get the impression Esparza is parsing her words carefully.

When she told MMAFighting.com's Marc Raimondi this week that she doesn't think her fight is "being promoted as much as it should be," she also added: "It is what it is. I'm gonna just keep winning fights and then those things will come. I'm not really too focused on that."

When she talked about her frustrations that a relative newb like Paige VanZant scored an individual sponsorship deal with Reebok—the UFC’s new exclusive apparel partner—Esparza said: “I'm never gonna hate on someone. I'm not gonna hate on Paige for taking an opportunity that was given to her."

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If you ask the casual UFC fan about the sport's top fighters, you'll typically get a pretty standard list in return. Jon Jones will be somewhere near the top. So will middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman, featherweight standout Jose Aldo and even women's bantamweight Ronda Rousey.

It's only after rattling off a string of other names that Anthony Pettis (18-2) tends to enter the mix.

Is that fair? Should the UFC's lightweight champion, a man who won the title from the king of close decisions, Benson Henderson, in a runaway romp, be considered among the elite? Should his every fight, not just Saturday's tilt against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185, be greeted with more fanfare than this?

Bleacher Report's lead combat sports writer Jonathan Snowden and Kenny Florian, former UFC lightweight contender and current Fox Sports 1 broadcaster extraordinaire, tackle the issue—but carefully. Kenny didn't want to muss his hair.

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This is Anthony Pettis' chance to really get his reign on a roll.

After his early UFC days were afflicted by injury and unforeseen circumstances, Pettis has been sublime during the last 18 months or so. If he can jet past Rafael dos Anjos on Saturday at UFC 185, it could go a long way toward establishing him as the breakout superstar nearly everyone believes he can be.

UFC 185 on the whole feels like a potential statement event. With a compelling main card and prelims temporarily moved off Fox Sports 1 and onto FX, this could be the organization's chance to begin putting the difficult first few months of 2015 behind it.

There is a lot to like about this fight card, but how exactly will it play out?

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This Saturday's UFC 185 fight card is good. It is very good. The preliminary card is deep, and the main card is full of interesting fights, including Henry Cejudo's return to flyweight.

It is true that Friday's weigh-ins are perhaps more interesting from a Cejudo perspective, but still, he's an interesting addition to the flyweight division, provided he can make the weight.

The other four main card fights are sublime.

Roy Nelson vs. Alistair Overeem will likely be violent. The same goes for Matt Brown vs. Johny Hendricks. We have Carla Esparza's first strawweight title defense against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who has excellent striking and good takedown defense. Then there's the main event with Anthony Pettis, one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC defending his belt against an unheralded but tough challenger.

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After just five fights in almost four years, Anthony Pettis knew something had to change.

Injury after injury piled up, stealing important years from his prime.

He did not enjoy being known as a frail champion, as someone who constantly pulled out of scheduled fights.

He did not enjoy being the butt of jokes. Not when all he wanted was to defend his belt on a consistent basis and to make a lot of money. He wanted to be the UFC's king of pay-per-view, a must-see attraction. But he couldn't be the king of pay-per-view if he couldn't stop pulling out of pay-per-views.

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There’s nothing wrong with Rafael dos Anjos.

On the contrary, dos Anjos has been outstanding through more than six years in the UFC. He’s gone 8-1 dating back to May 2012 and no matter what happens during his lightweight title shot at UFC 185, he can boast a resume few 155-pound fighters can match.

So, why does it seem so hard to picture UFC President Dana White strapping the title around dos Anjos’ waist at the end of Saturday night? 

Maybe it’s a confluence of things.

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LAS VEGAS — The first thing you notice about Joanna Jedrzejczyk is her name, of course, because you have to figure out how to spell it. She is a writer's worst nightmare. She is the reason copy and paste was invented.

But you also have to figure out how to say it, and, well, that's even more difficult.

"Young. Jay. Chick," she says, slowly.

I blink at her. My brain has absolutely no idea what sound she is making.

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A minute or two into last week’s Bellator 134, a guy strolled out from behind a retractable 20-foot video monitor and began noodling a version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on electric guitar.

On stage behind him stood a lineup of the night’s fighters, some of them taking his performance very seriously, some of them absolutely not. The monitors streamed pure Americana—shots of the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, a clip of wheat stalks swaying gently in a breeze.

Just as the guitarist wailed past the line about the perilous fight, cameras cut to a statuesque blonde woman in the front row wearing a black evening gown, one hand tucked somberly over her heart. At her right elbow, a guy with a full sleeve of tattoos slurped a cocktail out of a plastic cup and gleefully nodded along to the music.

Ninety seconds later, a bunch of fireworks went off indoors.

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Brock Lesnar's run in World Wrestling Entertainment might be coming to an end. Or, at least his contract is expiring after WrestleMania in a few weeks, making him the hottest free agent in combat sports. WWE, the UFC and Bellator have all expressed interest in securing Lesnar's services, according to Sporting News.

Where should Lesnar go? Should he stick around the relatively safer confines of a WWE schedule that allows him to work limited dates each year for a massive amount of money? Lesnar's friend, Paul Heyman, told Fox Sports The Beast is healed from the diverticulitis that caused him so much grief during his run as UFC heavyweight champion.

Should Lesnar, if he's actually healed, go back and try to prove to himself and to the world that he's better than the way his days in the UFC ended?

To discuss this hot topic, Bleacher Report lead writers Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy Botter teamed up, like a prettier version of The Bushwackers, to discuss where Lesnar should stick with professional wrestling or go back to the Octagon.

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It's strange to think that 11 fights and nearly four years into her amazing MMA career, we still have no idea how to talk about Ronda Rousey.

Through five appearances in the Octagon—capped by Saturday’s 14-second destruction of Cat Zingano at UFC 184—the women’s bantamweight champion has been so dominant that all our normal buzzwords fall pathetically short.

The lasting impression is that Rousey is so far ahead of her time—not to mention her best competition—that her own peers and her own employer don’t know exactly what to make of her. She’s obviously incomparable, but we can’t stop comparing her to her male counterparts. She’s obviously unique, but so far, we’re dead set on cramming her into some mold, some prefabricated cliche.

To that end, UFC President Dana White was happy to make Mike Tyson allusions at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. In keeping with MMA’s steadfastly oblivious relationship with the troubled former boxer, White didn’t appear to reckon that this might not be a wholly positive comparison or an awkward one to make about his first women’s champion.

"She is—without a doubt—that female version of him," White said, via MMAFighting.com’s Luke Thomas. “That's exactly what she reminds me of.”