Weili Zhang is coming into her UFC 281 title fight with a different mindset. She was absolutely devastated by the two defeats she suffered at the hands of Rose Namajunas last year.

But Zhang is back to winning ways after stopping Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a spinning back fist at UFC 275. Her reward for that performance is a shot at newly crowned champion Carla Esparza.

The two strawweights will face off at UFC 281 but Zhang says that is not about winning or losing for her anymore. She just wants to showcase her skills,

“Now I don’t care about win or lose anymore. Carla will be the first wrestler I met, so I am very interested in the progress of exchanging all we got in the arsenal. My goal is to dominate,” she told Shine.com.

Inspirational story

Esparza first challenged Namajunas for the strawweight strap in 2014 after both fighters reached the final of TUF 20. She had to wait eight years for her second chance and Zhang thinks it is an inspirational story,

“Carla is a respectable rival. Her up and down experience is very inspiring and gives me power to keep going on,” she said.

Esparza holds a win over her compatriot Yan Xiaonan. The latter is also on the UFC 281 card and will be looking to improve on her #6 ranking when she faces Mackenzie Dern.

Xhang is delighted to see her fellow Chinese star enjoying success and being featured on the same platform,

“I am happy that more excellent fighters are joining us in the main show. I believe that it will not only benefit the fighters, but also benefit the entire MMA movement,” she said.

Same mistakes

Zhang will be returning to the scene of one of her greatest disappointments. She dropped a split decision to Namajunas at UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden and admitted afterwards it was very difficult to come to terms with this setback.

It sounds like the 33 year old has been working on the mental side of the game and might cope better with losses moving forwards. But we will never know unless she loses and that is something Zhang does not plan on doing.

She knows she made mistakes in the two losses to Namajunas but believes they helped her to reach the point where she is on the verge of recapturing the strawweight strap. Most importantly Zhang says she has learned from them,

“All the past, all is overture. I won’t make the same mistakes this time.”