Weili Zhang would rather face fresh contenders than do battle with Joanna Jedrzejczyk a second time.
Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk won’t soon be forgotten. At UFC 248, Zhang put her strawweight title on the line against Jedrzejczyk in an early and immediate contender for “Fight of the Year.” It’s hard to imagine the bout not being in the running for that distinction at the end of 2020, especially with the coronavirus pandemic in full effect. In the end, Zhang retained her 115-pound gold via split decision.
Zhang Wants Fresh Contenders, Not Immediate Rematch With Jedrzejczyk
As both Zhang and Jedrzejczyk recover from such a grueling war, the UFC strawweight champion told ESPN that she prefers to face a new challenger over an immediate rematch with Jedrzejczyk. NOTE: The interview was conducted via email through a translator.
“I have no clue when my next fight would be yet, since everything is stuck by this COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to fight here in the U.S. again, since I have seen a massive number of Chinese and Asian people here motivated by my fight who will definitely cheer for me, and also U.S. has the biggest MMA fan base. I don’t want the rematch yet. I would like to give opportunities to other fighters in line.”
Jedrzejczyk suffered a hematoma in the bout that, perhaps, can be best described as gnarly. She is recovering from it but her face is still bruised. Whether or not she gets an immediate rematch despite Zhang’s wishes remains to be seen.
UFC 248 marked Zhang’s first title defense. The strawweight champion proved she can hang with elite-level talent for five rounds. Many expect her to be matched up with Jedrzejczyk a second time or the winner of Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas II for her next title bout.
Who do you want to see Weili Zhang put her UFC strawweight title on the line against next?