To be able to fight in our country can be a tricky situation. Although athletes do feel more comfortable when performing in front of their family, friends and fellow countrymen, the pressure to put on a good performance for your people can also hinder a fighter’s flow in the Octagon.
For China’s Weili Zhang, who will challenge champion Jessica Andrade for the strawweight title, the pressure is nowhere to be found so far, though. In an interview with Combate, ‘Magnum’ reveals to be just thankful for the opportunity to fight in her own turf and hopes to walk out of the Octagon a champion on August 31.
“I thank Jessica for the opportunity, for coming all the way to China to fight me. It’ll be special to fight at home. I’ll have the support of Chinese fans, family, everybody in China. But I feel no extra pressure because of that, or the possibility of becoming the first ever Chinese champion. It’s the fighter who brings the pressure with themselves, it’s emotional, I don’t let it get to me. I worked on my focus and my technique during my training camp, now I just need to enter the Octagon and do my best.”
Andrade, who became the champion after knocking out Rose Namajunas in highlight reel fashion, with a power slam, back in May, impressed MMA fans around the world with the finish. For Zhang, though the fight was a learning experience, as she studied Rose’s performance and learned what no to do to find herself in a similar situation against Jessica.
“I’m confident for this fight. It’s easy for me to deal with Jessica’s strong suits. I’m well prepared for any situation that can occur in this fight, including her power slam, I saw what Rose brought against Jessica in their last fight and I know what not to do. I’ll try not to repeat the same mistakes and walk out victorious.”
Undefeated in the Octagon, Weili Zhang (19-1) earned her title shot after putting together a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, defeating the likes of Danielle Taylor, Jessica Aguilar and most recently, in March, Tecia Torres. Magnum has not lost a fight since her MMA debut, back in November 2013.
Now, Weili Zhang is expected to meet Jessica Andrade at UFC Fight Night 157’s main event, in Shenzhen, China, on August 31.