UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili stopped by the Yahoo Sports New York office Thursday, and notwithstanding her calm and friendly persona, she is unquestionably fierce and confident in her abilities. Zhang has an unprecedented stoppage rate, finishing 17 of her 20 MMA bouts, commenting that while she is successful, she is showing “mercy to her opponents,” sparing them three or five full rounds of punishment.
Zhang has been the talk of many fighters over the past few weeks. Former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk claimed with her win over Michelle Waterson this past weekend in Tampa, Florida, she was guaranteed by the UFC to challenge Zhang for the title. She called Zhang “very fast and very dangerous,” but was confident she would regain her title. Zhang was not as impressed with Jedrzejczyk, and believes former champion Rose Namajunas and the undefeated Tatiana Suarez deserve a shot at the belt over Jedrzejczyk.
There is a bit of a personal reason why Zhang believes Jedrzejczyk has to wait in line for a shot at the belt.
“Several times [Jedrzejczyk] refused to fight me, but now that I’m the champion she wants to fight me. She is not the fighter she used to be. I was not impressed by her performance,” Zhang said through translator Peter Zheng.
Zhang shared a Chinese saying with Yahoo Sports that roughly translates to “I used to not be able to reach you, now you can’t reach me.”
Zhang: Whoever the UFC puts in front of me I’ll fight
Zhang will be in attendance at UFC Boston on Friday where Maycee Barber will be competing against Gillian Robertson. During a media event, 21-year-old Barber claimed she would “dominate” Zhang. Zhang says she is not concerned, pointing out that Barber is not even fighting people in the top 5.
With Namajunas remaining quiet and Jedrzejczyk potentially missing time with a foot injury, Zhang doesn’t care who the UFC puts in front of her. She says she is constantly training and hopes to be back in the Octagon in January 2020.
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