Weili Zhang is likely to defend his strawweight title in her home continent according to UFC president, Dana White.
Zhang has already headlined UFC Shenzhen where she TKO’d Jessica Andrade to become the new strawweight champion. Since that event, White has made it clear the UFC wanted Zhang to fight in Asia as often as possible. Now, the hope is to have her next title defense in Asia, but the opponent is still uncertain.
“We’re working on (Zhang). Obviously, the fight that everybody wants to see is her and Rose. Hopefully, we can get that done,” White told ESPN. “If not, the next one in line would probably be Carla Esparza. So we’re looking at doing that fight this year, and in Asia.”
Ever since Rose Namajunas defeated Andrade at UFC 251 it was clear “Thug” was the next contender for Zhang. However, White has claimed the former champion doesn’t want the fight and the promotion will look to book Zhang against Carla Esparza instead.
Regardless of Zhang’s opponent, it would be interesting to see the UFC have an event in Asia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UFC has been forced to hold events at the UFC Apex or on Fight Island. If they can start having events in other non-locked down countries, it would be a return to normalcy in a small way.
Weili Zhang, meanwhile, will no doubt want to fight in the coming months. The champion has not fought since she defended her belt for the first time against Joanna Jedrzejczyk by split decision in March of 2020. It was also the Fight of the Year for 2020 and one of the best fights of all-time.
Zhang is currently 21-1 and on a 21-fight winning streak after losing her first pro fight. In her UFC tenure, she holds wins over Danielle Taylor, Jessica Aguilar, Tecia Torres, and Andrade.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime