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Weili Zhang explains why she initially ‘felt wronged’ by UFC 261 stoppage

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Weili Zhang reflects on her knockout loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261.

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Weili Zhang was knocked out fair and square by Rose Namajunas at UFC 261, but Zhang ‘felt wronged’ by the stoppage, protesting to the referee that the fight was stopped too early.

Zhang had a hard time accepting the result because of all the hard work she had put into training only to be knocked out less than two minutes into the opening round.

The former UFC strawweight champion opened up about what was running through her mind at the time of the KO, and admits that the loss still stings to this day.

“Regarding the stoppage, when the referee pulled me away, I really couldn’t accept the fact,” Weili said during a live stream (h/t Doug Murray of MMA News). “I was not reconciled at all. I worked hard for a long time, and I trained very hard every day. And I brought a big team of mine to America, yet the match ended this early. Deep inside, I couldn’t accept this fact.”

“It’s because I put in so much effort to prepare for this fight, and it was very tough for me every day. But because of one misjudgement that I made, I thought she was doing a low-kick, and I had a defense for the low kick, but she made a high-kick instead. And it was very sudden, very quick. And it’s not like we went for three rounds and she overpowered me, or even after one round if she overpowered me and I lost, then I would admit that my skills weren’t as good. But this one is really.. you know. I didn’t have a chance to show what I’ve got. So I felt wronged.”

Zhang was on an unparalleled 21-fight win streak prior to her loss to Namajunas and believes she is deserving of an immediate rematch, but UFC president Dana White also has Carla Esparza to think about. The latter is on a five-fight win streak and recently stated a case for a title shot of her own following a dominant TKO victory over Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 27.

White acknowledges that he has a tough call to make going forward.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do next. If we do the rematch [with Zhang] or if we give it to her [Esparza].”