You read that right: years. Even though Zhang has been in the UFC for only a year and a half, her scouting of the former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk predates that:
“I have known about Joanna for a very long time, even before I was in the UFC,” Zhang told the South China Morning Post. “I have been preparing for her, and for this fight, for a long time. I know how she moves and how she fights. I always knew that one day we would meet inside the Octagon. I am preparing everything. I am ready.”
And she was right. Only now it’s Jedrzejczyk who was just watching Zhang hold the strawweight championship instead of the other way around during Zhang’s pre-UFC days. Zhang defeated Jessica Andrade via 1st round TKO to become the new champion and the first Chinese UFC world champion. Not one to rest on her laurels, Zhang is right back to work, eager to put all her preparation and tape study on Jedrzejczyk to good use when the two meet at UFC 248 in March.
“I have been training for speed and for power, working on my footwork,” said Zhang, who’s currently at home in Beijing, after touring the world with her belt.
“I am going to fight Joanna in Joanna’s way. No matter if it is wrestling or striking I am ready. Just like my fight in Shenzhen I will be ready for different situations.”
Weili Zhang is yet to lose in the UFC and is on a remarkable 20-fight winning streak. She will look to continue increasing that number when she takes on Joanna Jedrzejczyk inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 7th. Jedrzejczyk earned a second opportunity at regaining the strawweight championship by recently defeating Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision at UFC Tampa.
Whose style do you believe presents more challenges for their opponent: Weili Zhang’s or Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s?