Zhang Weili is ready for another crack at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight gold.
Snapping a two-fight skid after thrilling affairs against now-fellow former champion, Rose Namajunas, Zhang got back in the win column in emphatic fashion at UFC 275 two weekends ago (June 11, 2022).
Standing in Zhang’s way was a familiar face in another former titlist, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Unlike their epic first encounter at UFC 248 in March 2020, Zhang utilized her improved wrestling abilities to clearly win round one before closing the show in the second frame. Before the fight, UFC President, Dana White, stated that the winner of the rematch was bound for the next title shot against the champion, Carla Esparza. Zhang did her best to secure that opportunity by finishing Jedrzejczyk via spinning back fist knockout (watch highlights).
Zhang suggested a showdown with Esparza for November’s UFC 281 even in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, but the champion has since responded making it clear the fight will happen on her timeline and not whenever Zhang wants.
“Actually, we’ve been fighting for two rounds,” Zhang wrote on Instagram in response to Esparza’s comments. “Go ahead. Continue. Let’s go, champ.”
Ahead of the expected clash between both competitors, fans have seemingly made their allegiances clear, fully supporting China’s first UFC champion. Just two fights ago, however, that wasn’t at all the case.
The Namajunas rivalry was slightly mired by questionable “better dead than red” comments from Namajunas leading up to the first fight and after the bout’s conclusion, which saw Zhang booed on her way out of the tunnel in Jacksonville, Florida, a since admitted difficult experience for “Magnum.”
Now, that’s all behind her going forward.
“I just realized something,” Zhang said in a recent video posted to her social media channels (h/t South China Morning Post). “Before, when I see people trolling and hating on me, I would feel wronged, upset, want to clap back. But now when I see people trolling and hating on me, I feel nothing at all. I think this is growth. I think it’s so funny. I don’t feel anything, any discomfort inside. I think this is growth. Let’s go.”
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Author: Drake Riggs
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