Weili Zhang took a page out of Bruce Lee’s book as she prepared to face Amanda Lemos. The Chinese strawweight would go on to win by decision at UFC 292 after dominating the fight from start to finish.

In an interview with the China Times the reigning UFC strawweight champion revealed that her tactics for the fight with Lemos at UFC 292 were inspired by some traditional martial arts philosophy,

“Now I fight by using a tactic which does not involve any specific tactics,” she told The Global Times.

Fighting without fighting

Bruce Lee famously described his style as the art of ‘fighting without fighting’. He also advised up and coming martial artists to ‘be water’ and it sounds like Zhang was paying attention,

“I learned this concept at a very young age but it wasn’t until recent years that I have developed a deeper understanding of what ‘be water’ means which I can blend it into my tactics rather than previously trying to stick to one planned tactic,” she explained.

Zhang was not even born when Lee died suddenly in 1973. But she is well aware of the legendary actor’s philosophy and it has helped her become one of the best female mixed martial artists on the planet.


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Chinese culture

These days she trains for her fights in Phuket but Zhang is back in Beijing and talked to the China Times about the influence her country’s culture has had on her career,

“I have benefited a lot from Chinese culture. I hope more people can learn from it and then improve themselves. It’s more about studying and learning how to comprehend. It’s important to learn from what the ancestors have left us, such as sincerity and modesty, and know how to be respectful and grateful,” she told The Global Times.

If a UFC fighter came into the octagon with a background in tai chi they would be laughed out of the arena. But Zhang says this internal Chinese martial art has influenced her MMA career,

“When I would use force while wrestling, it would always feel especially hard, but now with the idea of tai chi, everything is curved – there is rigidity and flexibility.”