At UFC 248 in March Weili Zhang defended her UFC strawweight title with a split decision win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The fight, in front of the last sold out crowd the UFC would see in 2020, was immediately heralded as a Fight of the Year candidate.
Despite nine months of fighting passing by, the clash between Zhang and Jedrzejczyk held up and was named the Fight of the Year by UFC.com, the World MMA Awards and multiple media outlets.
Zhang spoke with UFC.com after this recent spate of honors and expressed how proud she was of the recognition.
“It was an honor to share the Octagon with Joanna and have the battle that we did,” said Zhang (ht Adam Martin, bjpenn.com). “I have seen the fight many times now, too many to count. Not just because I watched it myself, but because it has been played over and over throughout the world. I’m happy that many people enjoyed the battle and I look forward to returning to the Octagon soon.”
The 22-1 ‘Magnum’ was asked if she knew how special the fight was when she was duking it out against her Polish opponent.
“I knew Joanna and I were in a very exciting battle even before the actual fighting started,” responded Zhang. “But as the fight progressed it was very evident that this was an epic fight because she brought out the best in me, which I believe I did to her as well.”
Zhang’s win over Jedrzejczyk was her first UFC title defence. She scooped the 115 lb title by stunning Jessica Andrade with a 42-second TKO at UFC Shenzhen in August 2019. She earned her title shot with a perfect 3-0 start to her UFC career.
In her promotional debut she beat Danielle Taylor and then followed that up with a submission win over former WSOF champion Jessica Aguilar. Before getting her title shot she beat perennial top ranked fighter Tecia Torres by unanimous decision.
Zhang’s current five-fight undefeated streak in the UFC extends her overall winning streak to 20. The only loss of her career was in her pro debut back in 2013.
Zhang is currently expected to fight former champion Carla Esparza in her next defence. UFC President Dana White claimed this was happening because number one contender Rose Namajunas didn’t “want a title shot”. Namajunas has denied these claims.