Weili Zhang revitalized her career with a memorable knockout victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 275. The Chinese star produced a spinning back fist in the second round to secure one of the biggest finishes of the year so far.

The win marked a significant upturn in fortunes for the Chinese strawweight. She appears to have come in for some online criticism after suffering back to back losses at the hands of Rose Namajunas.

In an Instagram video that someone took the time to translate into English she admits that she allowed this criticism to get to her at times:

Better place

Zhang appears to be guaranteed a title shot after stopping Jedrzejczyk. After the fight she went back to Phuket to continue training at Bang Tao Muay Thai even though she doesn’t know when her next fight will be.

Champion Carla Esparza recently got married and does not appear to be in a rush to return to the octagon. But Zhang sounds like she is in a much better place now that she has snapped that losing streak,

“I just realized something. Before, when I see people trolling or hating me online, I would feel wronged, upset, want to clap back. But now when I see people hating on me, I feel nothing at all. I think this is growth. I think it’s so funny. I don’t feel anything, any discomfort inside. I think this is growth. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.”

Ups and downs

MMA can provide the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Zhang knows has experienced both ends of this spectrum and suffered a lot of abuse from fans in the buildup to the first fight with Namajunas, who deliberately stoked racial tension.

At UFC 261 she was greeted by a chorus of boos and then knocked out by a head kick in the first round. The rematch was closer as she dropped a split decision to Namajunas at UFC 268.

This time it was Zhang who had her hand raised while Jedrzejczyk announced her retirement immediately after the fight. The two put on one of the best fights in women’s MMA history at UFC 248 and there is definitely no bad blood between them.

Zhang had a message for the former champion and wishes her former foe all the best in her future endeavours,

“Victory and defeat are not the only outcome, because the journey itself is more beautiful. Joanna’s retirement is the end of an era, also the beginning of a new one. It is a legacy and continuation of the combat sport spirit. I wish you good luck and good dreams in the faraway land, go create new glory.”