Zhang Weili feels for Rose Namajunas poor UFC 274 performance and wants a third fight.


Zhang Weili can relate to rival Rose Namajunas.

The UFC strawweight champion won the title a second time this past November at UFC 281, needing a little more than two rounds to put away Carla Esparza with a rear-naked choke. It was Esparza’s first defense after her second win over Namajunas, a fighter who holds two title fight wins over Zhang.

Esparza and Namajunas’ five-round fight at UFC 274 was widely panned, with some calling it the worst title fight in the promotion’s history, but Zhang understands why “Thug Rose” might not have been at her best on that night.

“I experienced the same thing,” Zhang said on The MMA Hour with assistance from a translator. “Once you become the champ, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on you to hold onto the belt dearly, and I felt the same thing before. I can understand her feelings.

” I think Rose wanted to keep his belt and fight a nice fight. .”

Zhang was the first UFC champion. She defeated Jessica Andrade in the first round of 2019.. She successfully defended the title once, getting past Joanna Jedrzejczyk by split decision at UFC 248 in an instant classic. She then dropped the belt to Namajunas and lost a decision to Namajunas in the rematch.

Zhang, who is embarking on her second attempt at the top of the podium, said that this time she will have a new perspective about what it means to be a champion.

“I don’t have pressure now,” she said. I want to be better than myself and surpass the old Weili version. The belt itself is just something that’s evidence for me to show that I keep on improving. That’s the way that I look at it now.”

” You can’t always be the champion, no matter who you are. Every day I train at [UFC Performance Institute], and when I get up there is a photo of Hall of Fame fighters. These fighters are great, but they won’t be champions forever. That is something I can accept. Whatever happens in the future, I understand that. For now, I just need to keep moving forward .”


Namajunas has not competed since the loss to Esparza this past May and is currently without a fight. UFC Fight Pass recently published a documentary on her life, Thug Rose . With her name back in the news again, it is not surprising that she could step right into another title fight. She has two victories over Esparza.

For Zhang, there’s no reason to rush into a third fight with Namajunas, even if she thinks it’s an inevitability.

” I still wish to meet her again, but maybe not right away, for the next title defence,” Zhang stated. But we will definitely meet each other down this road .”

Source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2022/12/25/23495243/zhang-weili-sympathizes-rose-namajunas-poor-performance-ufc-274-third-namajunas-fight-down-the-road?rand=96749