Zhang Weili has had a massive influence on the MMA scene in China.
Zhang Weili recently submitted Carla Esparza to regain the UFC women’s strawweight championship and is destined to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame when she eventually retires from the sport.
Weili was backstage at UFC Fight Night 215 and spoke to reporters on various topics. While speaking with the press, she mentioned that although she is a UFC champion, she doesn’t consider herself to be a celebrity:
“I don’t think of me as a celebrity, I don’t think. I just a MMA fighter,”
‘Magnum’ is a popular fighter, which was apparent when she fought Esparza at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. She later added that the sport continues to grow in China:
“More and more people are getting into this sport and strarting training. And I believe in the future that MMA as sport in China will thrive. China have P.I. (UFC Performance Institute) in Shanghai. It is very important for a Chinese fighter to grow and to progress.”
The two-time women’s strawweight champion was popular with the fans when she fought at UFC 281. Fans were overwhelmingly in her favor as she challenged the ‘Cookie Monster’, who is American.
Check out the full media scrum:
Who will Zhang Weili fight in her first title defense?
Now that Zhang Weili has regained the women’s strawweight championship, it will be interesting to see who the promotion matches her up against in her first title defense. There have been plenty of fighters that have made a strong case that they’re deserving of a title shot.
‘Magnum’s fights have all been exciting since she joined the UFC in 2018. Her first fight with former women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is arguably the greatest female fight in UFC history.
The long list of contenders is a welcome change, especially considering that there have been plenty of immediate strawweight championship rematches in recent years. Rose Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk, and ‘Magnum’ each fought each other twice, which essentially held up the division at times.
The women’s strawweight champion could decide that she wants to fight somebody different and choose to fight Amanda Lemos for her first title defense. However, ‘Magnum’ vs. ‘Thug Rose’ 3 could also be an option because it would allow the champion with an opportunity to avenge the only losses of her UFC career.