Weili Zhang has got that winning feeling again. She snapped her two fight losing skid in the best possible style by stopping Joanna Jędrzejczyk in the second round at UFC 275 in Singapore last weekend.
It seems inevitable that Zhang’s next fight will be for the strawweight belt. She wants a shot at the newly crowned champion Carla Esparza and it would be a major surprise if the UFC matchmakers didn’t hand it to her.
Zhang even has a specific timescale in mind for her third shot at the title. She hopes to compete at UFC 281 in Abu Dhabi on October 22nd.
BACK IN A BIG WAY!🔥
— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 13, 2022
Speaking after the fight she told the fans in the Singapore Indoor Stadium,
“I want fight with Carla in Abu Dhabi because I know there’s a fight there in October. I think Carla is a special fighter, too, and I know that can be a really good fight.”
Zhang explained why she believes Abu Dhabi is the ideal location for the fight. Having been mercilessly booed in Jacksonville and beaten by a debatable split decision in New York she thinks the Middle East would be the fairest location for both fighters,
“Also, for me and for her, not China or the U.S. So we can fight in another country, so it’s fair for both of us,” she said.
Prior to the two losses to Namajunas she had been on a 21 fight winning streak that had lasted seven years. Zhang clearly found it psychologically difficult to deal with the back to back defeats after so many victories.
The win over Jędrzejczyk marks a significant return to form for the 32 year old who won by stoppage for just the third time in her UFC career. Afterwards she said,
“I am very happy for this fight. I told myself I would use all my experience for this fight and I did it, I am coming back.”
— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 12, 2022
Esparza recently took time out to get married and have a honeymoon. She told the New York Post that Zhang would have to wait until she was ready,
“I definitely don’t feel like I’m in a position where I should rush just because Weili wants a certain date. I’m not trying to go on her timeline. I’m the champion, and I feel she needs to go on my timeline.”
It is a matter of when not if the strawweight title fight happens and Zhang knows exactly what she needs to work on in order to become strawweight champion for the second time,
“So if I’m fighting Carla, I need to improve my grappling, my BJJ, my wrestling. There’s nothing I need to specially care for. I just need to improve myself. MMA is over all sports, so I don’t think we can have any disadvantage, so I want to be a well-rounded fighter.”