UFC middleweight Chris Weidman has suggested women’s strawweight Zhang Weili shouldn’t use his injury as an excuse for her defeat at UFC 261.
At the April pay-per-view, Zhang had her 21-fight winning streak ended at the hands of Rose Namajunas in the co-main event. Having dethroned Jéssica Andrade in her home country of China in 2019, “Magnum” successfully defended her 115-pound gold against former champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk in a Fight of the Year contender last March.
But against “Thug Rose,” Zhang was unable to make it out of the first round, falling to a knockout loss after just over a minute inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Despite having appeared to have come to terms with her first loss since 2013, and the first blemish on her UFC record, Zhang recently suggested that Chris Weidman’s leg injury, which occurred two fights before she made her walk to the Octagon, caused her to lose focus on the night.
After just 17 seconds of his main card bout against Uriah Hall, Weidman snapped his leg after the first strike of the fight connected with a hard check from “Prime Time.” During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, the former UFC Middleweight Champion spoke about the incident, and said it must have been traumatic for those in attendance to see.
“Yeah, I gave her the bad juju…” Weidman joked. “Yeah, I mean listen, that was a super traumatic moment for me and I think anybody probably who watched it, the people in the stands and stuff…”
But while he admits the injury would have been difficult for everyone to witness, Weidman went on to suggest that his misfortune shouldn’t be used as an excuse for Zhang’s loss to Namajunas.
“We weren’t even sweating yet. There was no adrenaline going. I was fresh. It was the first strike of the fight, full force, everything I have. And it was traumatic, I think, for everybody to see that happen. So listen, I think it probably would mess with anybody a little bit, but that being said, you don’t want to make excuses like that. I’m friends with Rose. I love Rose. I’m sure she was upset when she saw me do that, but you gotta get right back to getting in your own head and being ready for your own fight.”
Despite appearing to have been on a rapid road to recovery, which had already seen Weidman taking part in some light gym sessions, the 37-year-old recently went back under the knife for a second surgery.
While he hopes to heal enough to compete in the UFC again, Zhang will be preparing for a likely championship rematch with Namajunas. Despite the recent form of inaugural strawweight queen Carla Esparza, it appears the UFC will favor an immediate rematch between the current champ and “Magnum.”
Do you think Chris Weidman’s leg break played a part in Zhang Weili’s loss to Rose Namajunas?