Weili Zhang: It won’t take long for more Chinese champions

UFC women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang defends her title for the second time. vs. Rose Namajunas, in the co-main event of UFC 261 on April 24, 2021. It has been just over a year since her first title defense, a Split Decision win and strong fight of the year contender vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk. In a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency, the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang looked forward and back.

“I haven’t fought anyone this whole year and often felt depressed about it, especially when I saw other female fighters in the octagon,” said Zhang. “I was so desperate to go there and join them. But I have learned a lot in the past year. Both my skills and strength have improved.”

“The [Jedrzejczyk] fight is definitely more difficult [than the title-winning destruction of Jessica Andrade]. But the more difficult the process is, the sweeter the victory tastes. That title defense got me to realize how promising one can be and that promise can be inspiring. That’s why I believe everything will be alright this time.”

Zhang was asked to comment about the coming fight with Namajunas.

“Anything can happen in a fight,” she replied, accurately. “I think Rose is good. She respects me and I respect her too. This is two fighters communicating with each other in our own way. Sometimes it takes a fight to make friends. Why not us?”

MMA was born in Brazil, blossomed in the USA, and is now worldwide. The sport saw The Russian Invasion of talent, which is ongoing. The African Invasion is well underway, with three African-born champions versus only one US-born champion, Aljamain Sterling, the only fighter in UFC history to win a title on a foul. Zhang is the face of Chinese MMA, welcomes all that comes with that, and says the Chinese Invasion is coming.

“I never see the attention and expectations as pressure,” she said. “They only motivate me to stick to what I’m doing and train harder. In fact, pressure only comes from yourself in many cases. It becomes pressure only when you say so and vice versa.”

“I believe it won’t take long for Chinese fighters to impress the world in MMA competitions,” said Zhang, who wants to inspire more young women to participate in MMA. “Once you set a target, don’t give up because you encounter difficulty. Keep fighting and never forget why you started it.”

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