Saying Weili Zhang was successful in defending her strawweight title at UFC 248 would be an understatement. “Magnum” decisively beat former titleholder Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a five-round barnburner that is easily a Fight of the Year candidate.
After that performance, Zhang is enjoying more fame than ever. So much so that she is recognized by fans in her home country, even with full protective gear on.
“When I came back to China last month, I was recognised by fans in the (Tianjin) airport, which was amazing because I was wrapped in a protective suit,” she said in a recent conference call (via The Straits Times).
“Now even when I go running outside, I am recognized as well. I feel very good about this and I am glad to see more and more people get to know me and the sport of MMA.”
With her continued success in the UFC, the 30-year-old fighter is also looking at bigger challenges ahead. One of them being a flyweight title fight against Valentina Shevchenko, and possibly hold two UFC titles simultaneously.
“If possible, I also want to challenge in the next weight (division) up and fight with that champion (flyweight title holder Valentina Shevchenko),” Zhang said.
Since dropping down to flyweight in 2018, Shevchenko has been on a 5-0 run. She has so far defended the 125-pound title three times, most recently against Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247 in February. She won by third-round TKO.