Monday, November 28, 2022

Zhang Weili Says Grief From First Namajunas Loss Was Almost Unbearable

Zhang Weili is taking some time to reflect on her mindset.

Zhang Weili is coming off her second consecutive loss to Rose Namajunas. Even though she lost twice to the champ, she feels as if she has grown from the experiences. Her first loss to Namajunas back in April seemed to have had a profound effect on her. She spoke a bit about how she felt following that first bout on her Instagram page.

“After the first fight, when it ended that fast, the grief I felt inside was almost unbearable,” Zhang said. “Think about it, we went to a place that far and brought the whole team then the fight ended as soon as it started. It was agony. It was still painful after we got back. It felt then I could be alright at one moment, like, it is what it is. Then sometimes I’d think about it again and it still hurts, I still struggle to accept it.”

After that first bout with Namajunas, Zhang did a lot to change up her game. She began training with former UFC champion Henry Cejudo and even began some mindest training. She incorporated boo simulation to help her cope with the hostile crowds. She seems to have grown as a fighter in the time between the two fights.

“I gained a whole new understanding of the sport. That’s when I feel like my mindset and everything else changed for real. I find that if you don’t go through those failures, setbacks, and losses you will never be able to grow,” Zhang said. “After I finally experienced it then I think back on everything I’ve been through in the past it felt like I grew up all of a sudden. When you finally get it, you feel enlightened.”

It is unclear where Zhang will go from here with these two losses so fresh. She is still one of the best in the strawweight division and could be matched up with anyone in the top five. Some are interested in seeing her rematch Joanna Jędrzejczyk next. Either way, Zhang should be a big part of the UFC 115 pound division for some time, and perhaps she can work her way back up to a trilogy fight with Namajunas.

Do you think Zhang Weili can ever become UFC champion again?