Weili Zhang is the new UFC strawweight champion after knocking out Jessica Andrade in just 42 seconds of the main event at UFC Shenzhen.
She did so in just her fourth UFC fight as she is now 4-0 inside the Octagon. As well as 20-1 as a pro and riding a 20-fight winning streak.
However, according to UFC president, Dana White, getting fights for Zhang has not been the easiest. He revealed at the post-fight press conference that no one wants to fight her, but now they will have to if they want to fight for the title.
“I don’t know if they’re all taking time off right now. Rose [Namajunas] is definitely taking time off,” White said. “Rose got slammed on her head and wanted to take some time off after that, which is understandable. The other girls are all fighting, there’s other fights happening right now and as they play out, it will determine what’s next for Weili.”
“Weili told me tonight that she wants to fight as much as possible, which I love. And I can tell you this going into this fight with Jessica Andrade, nobody wanted to fight Weili Zhang. Nobody wanted to fight her. Now she’s the champion, so if you want a shot at that belt, you have to fight her.”
Why no one wanted to fight her may be the fact that she was relatively unknown. She was not ranked highly until her UFC 235 win over Tecia Torres. The fight that got her the title shot. But, this fight for Weili Zhang against Jessica Andrade no doubt proved she was as legit as her record and for White, he gets the same sentiment.
“It’s funny because I asked a lot of fighters what they thought about this fight,” White said. “Everybody thought that Jessica was too strong for Weili and there were too many unanswered questions about Weili, which is true. If you’ve seen her fight, you can tell she’s well-rounded. She’s super talented. But, how’s she gonna deal with the pressure of fighting for the title for the first time in her home country, all of her people here, and a lot of other variables that play into a fight.”
“She looked like a world champion tonight, she looked like one of the most vicious women on planet Earth tonight. She looked incredible. No, the answer to your question is, ‘no.’ I did not see it ending like this.”
In the end, this is a huge win over Weili Zhang and Chinese MMA. She is the first UFC champion from China and Dana White knows how big of a deal this is. He now wants her next fight on a numbered card in the United States as the co-main event, or even possibly main event.
“The fight that happened tonight, you know, the UFC is a global sport,” White said. “Tonight, Weili Zhang’s performance was so good and so big, people were watching this fight in Canada, the United States, Brazil, the Middle East. Weili Zhang became a huge star tonight globally, not just here in China. And obviously, the first-ever Chinese world champion. She’s still very fresh and young in her career. We’ll see what is in store for her, but she’s off to a good start.”
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The Scrap’s Cole Shelton is a full-time MMA writer for various news outlets. Make sure to follow Cole on Twitter (@ColeShelton91) for a variety of content.