Zhang Weili targets pay-per-view title defense in China for 2023


Zhang Weili will bring home UFC Gold, and she plans to next bring home a pay per view home.

The Chinese star became a two-time strawweight champion on Saturday at UFC 281, dominating Carla Esparza in the co-main event before finishing with a rear-naked choke in Round 2. Zhang’s overall pro record improved to 23-3 and she reinforced her reputation as her country’s premier MMA fighter.

Zhang was asked after the fight if she thought China would be interested in hosting a title defense.

” If we can achieve it, and if UFC can, then I’m sure I can defend my title in China next year.” Zhang stated. They are searching for a major pay-per view event in China .

Zhang’s first title win came in Shenzhen, China, in August 2019, on a UFC Fight Night event that was geared toward local time (a 13-hour difference from Eastern Standard Time). That meant many North American fans possibly didn’t watch live Zhang’s championship knockout of Jessica Andrade. That’s one logistical hurdle the UFC would have to tackle to accommodate Zhang’s wishes, but given her massive popularity — including receiving loud cheers on Saturday at Madison Square Garden — it’s an option that the promotion could consider.

To win her second title, Zhang showed off her impressive grappling to foil Esparza, a wrestling specialist. Zhang enthusiastically talked about her progress as an MMA fighter, and how she could incorporate traditional Chinese techniques.

“I think mixed martial arts is a very comprehensive sport,” Zhang said. “I even think in the future I may try to bring some techniques from traditional Chinese martial arts, just to showcase more martial arts disciplines in my game.”

“For [Bajiquan] they have very good elbow attacks,” Zhang later added. The principle of Tai Chi is how to combine power and strength. Tai Chi is a principal that I use to train strength and conditioning. So, I think we could include those with modern mixed martial art .”

if there are some ideas or principles of these disciplines.

The UFC went to great lengths in China expansion, even building a Performance Institute at Shanghai. Zhang credited the promotion with the rapid growth of MMA in her home country.

“I believe that since my first win, there have been more Chinese young people and more females taking up this sport, Zhang stated. From the UFC PI Shanghai, China in 2019. to MMA in China, MMA has grown very quickly. The UFC deserves my gratitude. They give all the fighters and this sport massive support, like the UFC PI. I am always taken care of, in Shanghai and Las Vegas. It is a great thing that there is an MMA promotion such as the UFC. We are very grateful .”


Belt in hand, Zhang faces a few potential challengesrs including countrywoman Yan Xiaonan and Rose Namajunas who have already won two fights against Zhang.

Zhang has decided to leave the final decision up to the matchmakers.

” They are all great fighters so I will just let the UFC decide,” Zhang stated. “We’ll wait for the call from them and discuss with them which one is better for me.”

Source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2022/11/13/23455907/zhang-weili-targets-pay-per-view-title-defense-in-china-for-2023?rand=96749