“Magnum” was looking to defend her 115-pound title for the second time when she fell to Namajunas.
After 19 consecutive MMA wins, Zhang earned a title opportunity against Jessica Andrade back in 2019. An explosive first-round TKO saw her crowned queen of the strawweights in her home country of China.
Having become the first ever Chinese and East Asian champion in UFC history, the 31-year-old defended her gold in a Fight of the Year contender against Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
But at UFC 261, “Thug Rose” shocked the world when she knocked the champ out with a vicious head kick, taking the title and halting Zhang’s winning streak at 21.
Despite the impressive form of fellow former champ Carla Esparza, Zhang Weili seems confident that she’ll receive the next championship fight.
Taking to her Instagram, Zhang shared footage from a recent training session. In the caption, she states that she’s preparing hard for her next fight – a championship rematch with Namajunas.
“After a period of rest. Start training for my next fight. Champion Rose is very strong. She is a real ace. I need to work harder and believe that our second Second fight will be a very good fight. Playing against the best is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. That’s what friends want to see, too”
Although many fans have called for Esparza, who is riding an impressive five-fight winning streak, to run it back with Namajunas first, Dana White appeared all for an immediate rematch for Zhang after UFC 261.
Speaking to the media at the PPV’s conclusion, the UFC president said the pair entering the Octagon together again makes sense.
“The rematch is a fun fight, and I think a lot of people would be excited about that fight,” White told reporters. “I don’t make fights the night of the fight. I’m just saying, off the top of my head, that makes a lot of sense.”
Of course, this was before “Cookie Monster” demolished Yan Xiaonan last month, but nevertheless, it’ll be hard to deny Zhang of the next title shot given her performances before her April loss.
Do you think Zhang can reclaim the strawweight title from Namajunas in their rematch?