Dana White is keen to make a UFC strawweight championship fight between Yan Xiaonan and Zhang Weili in China. The latter went on The MMA hour earlier this week and disclosed a conversation she had in the aftermath of her victory over Jessica Andrade.

Yan stopped Andrade in the opening round at UFC 288 to establish herself as a serious contender for the strawweight title. She told Ariel Helwani that she has already spoken to Dana White about the possibility of fighting Zhang in China,

“I met Dana in the locker room after the fight, and he said let’s do it in China. So if we can make the UFC China event happen, I think it’s possible, probably some point at the end of this year,” she told The MMA Hour.

If there was any doubt that the two Chinese fighters would be willing to face one another then Yan dispelled it telling Helwani that,

“I don’t know what the plan is on (Zhang) Weili’s side, if she has a fight booked. But if they gave me the chance, I can definitely fight for the belt because when I step in the octagon, my goal is just the championship. I hope Dana can make this fight happen.”


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Local favourite

Zhang won the title in China. She stopped Andrade at UFC Shenzhen to win the belt. She subsequently lost twice to Rose Namajunas and lost her status as champion.

But Zhang bounced back from that pair of defeats to stop Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a spinning back first at UFC 275. She followed that up with a submission win over Carla Esparza at UFC 281 to recapture the strawweight crown.

Yan thinks that the champion is more popular than her in China and says comes in for a lot of criticism. She feels the best way to silence those critic would be by beating the champion,

“Because Weili is the champion, I think she’s more favored by the Chinese fans. Now, there are a lot of Chinese fans who criticize me. They don’t like me. I cannot share the love with Weili so I just want to shut them up.”


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A post shared by Xiaonan Yan (@xiaonan_yan)

All Chinese

During previous interviews Yan had described Zhang as ‘a friend’.  But it is clear that both fighters would be willing to put the friendship on hold to challenge for the title.

We haven’t had the chance to hear Zhang’s thoughts on the prospect of fighting her compatriot. But Yan has made it abundantly clear that she wants to challenge for the title telling her Instagram followers that,

I am here to be the champion!