After two months away from home, Zhang Weili is finally back in China.
The UFC strawweight champion arrived in Las Vegas on February 21 to complete the training camp for her scheduled bout against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 — a fight that would later become an all-time classic. However, as COVID-19 continued to spread, Zhang found herself stuck in Las Vegas, where it was safer at the time than China was.
“The original plan was flying back to China right after the fight,” Zhang told ESPN back in March. “UFC required us to stay for a few more days for media interviews, so we stayed and planned to go back afterwards, but the outbreak went serious here right after. We decided to stay, since the risk of getting infected in the airport and on the flight is very high. The situation in China is getting better every day, most of the infection cases are from outside of the country.”
Zhang rented a home in southwest Las Vegas, where she continued to train with her coach on a daily basis in the living room and backyard. She also watched TV to practice her English.
Now six weeks removed from her ‘Fight of the Year’ contender at UFC 248, Zhang has finally to returned to China, according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. Zhang, along with her coach and translator, left on Sunday, April 19, and will isolate in a hotel for two weeks before returning home.
Prior to her departure, Zhang took to social media and posted a thank you message to her team and to the UFC for looking after her during her self-imposed exile. She then signed off with a positive message for her fans.
“We must thank the doctors and nurses that have been fighting this virus so we can all come together again,” Zhang said. “I miss everyone but good times will come to us all again.”