Zhang Weili: UFC Champion, Fashion Icon

UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili is more than just the owner of a UFC title. In fact, she’s one of the unique treasures in the sport that has made her impressions in other avenues of culture. Fight fans will perpetually appreciate Weili for her powerful striking and crisp movement inside of the UFC octagon. Some may even simply look at her as the UFC’s first Chinese champion.  But, those who plunge below into the underground community of fashion understand another layer of Zhang.

Being a UFC fighter is remarkably challenging. But, maturing into a champion has even more hurdles. Of course, maintaining the title is no short deed and Zhang will have an opportunity to do that against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248. While many outlets, including ours, will cover the intense matchup, let’s take a look at what makes Weili Zhang’s one of the UFC’s first fashion icons.

What Makes Zhang’s fashion Iconic?

Everybody has their own style. That’s one of the factors that makes fashion incredible. However, just like every other subculture, there are rules and trends. So, what defines having a “good” fashion sense anyways?

There are countless factors that go into it. A primary factor is having a person that owns the essential staples that should be in every wardrobe. For example, trench coats, neutral tone shirts, dress shoes, etc. As well as being able to “dress down” high fashion pieces and integrate them into their own personal style casually.

Appreciating your body type is also pivotal. Obtaining the pieces that fit with a trademark statement piece takes the outfit to the next level. And with Zhang, that ordinarily comes in the form of representing her culture.

For Zhang, fashion isn’t just clothing. It’s the walking personification of her people. As well as her individual self-expression.

Let’s take a look at some of Weili’s best looks so far in her young MMA career.

Zhang Weili’s Looks Over Her MMA Career

image of Weili Zhang, courtesy of Ester Lin of MMA Fighting
📸: Ester Lin, MMA Fighting

What are the two things that Zhang is mostly known for? Her fighting and her fashion. In this look, both of those worlds combine.

Weili brought an edgy look to an edgy profession. Rocking training gear is something that Zhang is often spotted in. However, in this chill session, she paired her regular UFC attire with a leather jacket.

Many might look at this image and say “Well, it’s just a coat.” But, pay attention to the way that the jacket fits Zhang perfectly. The shape isn’t a box, the sleeve length is perfect. These are the small details that let people in the fashion world know that Zhang knows exactly what she is doing.

Image of Zhang Weili, courtesy of The Athletic
📸: The Athletic

Again, the way that the articles of clothing fit are the key. In this image, Zhang poses in a traditional black mock turtleneck. She partnered the staple piece with high-end platform sneakers and light wash cropped denim.

Part of being a fashion icon is taking a basic look, adding your own flair, and taking it to the next level. Which is exactly what Weili did here.

Image from EssesntiallySports.com
📸: EssesntiallySports.com

Tradition. Here, Zhang is wearing a traditional Chinese Kung Fu uniform which is the embodiment of her Chinese culture. However, she partnered with a belt.

In her version, the sleeves have been removed to showcase the incredible physique of her arms. Additionally, Zhang’s modified conventional gear mirrors a dress more than a uniform. The perfect way to showcase her culture while also modernizing the outfit to fit her unique taste.

An Icon in Two Ways

As fans can see, Weili has the ability to showcase several different looks. Especially when we factor in that she’s only been in the UFC for less than 3 years. The best part of Zhang’s style? It appears as if she has no idea what she means to the fashion world.

The best kind of style is a unique one. Zhang is the UFC’s first Chinese champion. However, she’s also its first style icon.

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