Weili Zhang is confident she’ll remain the strawweight champion when she takes on Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event of UFC 248.
Zhang is set for her first title defense after shocking knockout win over Jessica Andrade in under a minute back at UFC Shenzhen. The Chinese champion is riding a 20-fight winning streak and a perfect 4-0 inside the Octagon. Yet, in this fight against Jedrzejczyk, many believe this will be Zhang’s toughest challenge yet. But, the champ says she is better everywhere.
“Joanna will keep distance away from me. She won’t stay in the pocket with me because she fears my strength and clinching,” Zhang said to Dan Hardy’s Full Reptile YouTube show (via South China Morning Post). “I don’t really see anything that can threaten me, so it’s going to be a hard time for her. There are three main areas. Stand-up, wrestling and jiu jitsu – and whatever she brings to the table. I’ll go with it and I’ll beat her.”
Heading into this fight, Weili Zhang had to leave China to train in Thailand, Dubai and now in the United States to avoid the Coronavirus. Yet, she says that doesn’t matter as she still is confident in her skillset.
“It doesn’t matter where I train or do my camp as long as I’m with my team to support me – that’s the most important thing,” she said, adding that she appreciated the PI’s support during her difficulties.
In the end, Weili Zhang is confident she will get her hand raised after drawing inspiration from Ronda Rousey throughout her UFC tenure.
“She inspired me a lot. I first watched her in 2013 – she wowed me,” said Zhang. “I didn’t believe that a girl can fight like that in a kind of male-dominated sport … Ronda Rousey is definitely the one.
“My favourite fight [in my career] was definitely the title shot when I won the championship belt … Especially happening in China, my homeland, this fight helped push MMA a lot and opened a lot of doors … More and more upcoming young talents are practising MMA. I believe there will be more Chinese fighters signed by the UFC and fight for the belt. I’m just the beginning,” she said.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime