Zhifa Shang is the latest Chinese fighter to appear on Dana White’s Contender Series. The Chinese flyweight faces Juan Puerta tonight (local time) in Las Vegas and is clearly not short of ambition or confidence.

“I’m ready to prove that I’m the best flyweight in the world. My goals go beyond just winning this fight. I want to become the UFC flyweight champion.”

It hasn’t been a particularly good couple of weeks for Chinese fighters who have lost four out of four for the UFC and DWCS. But Shang says he has some qualities which make him stand out from the crowd,

“I have a very strong mind and the heart of a warrior.”

Zhifa Shang rear naked choke

Successful comeback

This mindset was tested seven years ago when he was unable to fight for nearly a whole year,

“In 2014 I got injured and couldn’t fight. I thought about retiring because I needed to work.”

He credits one of his coaches for turning his career around,

“My coach Mr Jiang saw the potential in me and convinced me to come back a few months later Since then I haven’t stopped working to get better.”

He comes into his international debut on the back of a 20 fight winning streak. Shang is determined to make a statement about how strong the 125lbs division is in his country,

“After this fight the world will know how strong the flyweight division is in China,” he said.

Zhifa Shang mouthguard

Dangerous adversary

His opponent comes into this contest on an 11 fight winning streak and trains out of American Top Team. But Shang believes he is better than him everywhere,

“If this fight stays on the fee I’m good enough to outstrike my opponent, but if we go to the ground that’s my territory.”

Shang has ten wins by rear naked choke and warns the American that he will be a very dangerous adversary on the ground,

“If the ground is the sea then I’m the shark, I will make him tap.”