Yan Xiaonan wants to challenge reigning strawweight champion Weili Zhang. She hopes that the fight will take place in December and is disappointed that it hasn’t been scheduled sooner.
Xiaonan was in Las Vegas last week and gave a series of interviews. In this one with Sports Keeda she made it very clear that she was confident of beating the strawweight champion,
“I think I’m prettier, and a more technical fighter. I’m confident I’m better than her,” she said.
WE HAVE A NEW STRAWWEIGHT CONTENDER!!
— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
Surprised and disappointed
Next up for Zhang is a title defence against Amanda Lemos at UFC 292. Xiaonan was surprised and disappointed not to be given the next shot at the champion,
“I was a surprised because I think it should (have been) me. I still think Weili can win and defend her title because Weili is at her peak and she is better than Lemos.”
Xiaonan thinks that a title fight between her and Zhang would be the perfect headliner for the UFC’s next card in China,
“What I heard, is probably a China event in December so I hope I will be on that card and of course I hope it will be a title fight,” she said.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) May 8, 2023
If Lemos was to win it might increase her chances of being handed a title shot. But Xiaonan points out that Chinese athletes frequently face each other in other sports and doesn’t think the UFC should shy away from these matchups,
“I don’t know how the UFC feel about that match-up, but all I know is all the Chinese UFC fans want that fight because that means two girls from China represent the highest level of this sport. In many other sports like table tennis and diving there’s always China vs China.”
Xiaonan admits that not everyone wants to see the two Chinese strawweights fight. But she is not about to let patriotic pride get in the way of her title dreams,
“Some people criticise me for calling out Weili (but) I don’t care because my ultimate goal is to be the champion.”
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Xiaonan beat Jessica Andrade in such impressive fashion at UFC 288 that title talk was inevitable. She is currently ranked #3 and if both Chinese strawweights continue winning then a fight between them seems inevitable.
The two have been described as ‘friends’ but is is clear that they are not close enough to make a fight unpalatable. Xiaonan does not know how the champion feels about it but won’t anything or anyone stand between her and her title dreams,
“I don’t know about her, but I think the relationship between us is kind of competitive. Everyone in this sport wants to be the champion so that’s why I’m here.”