Zhang Weili, the UFC strawweight champion, apparently changed her mind about the possible title defense against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The Chinese fighter stated that she is willing to fight the Polka whenever she wants, adding that she will most definitely win that contest.
Although Weili (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) stated on several occasions that she isn’t interested in giving a chance for a title shot to Jedrzejczyk (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC), that is not the situation anymore. She now wants the bout to happen.
“I am ready anytime for battle. Just call my manager, Mr. Brian (Butler) and the boss Dana, and we can fight next week,” the champion said.
If this happens, that would be Weili’s first title defense. She obtained the belt after defeating Jessica Andrade at UFC Shenzhen in late August, destroying the rival after just 42 seconds of the fight. That made her the first UFC champion from China and one of the most famous athletes back home.
— Women's MMA Rankings (@WMMARankings) November 21, 2019
Additionally, Weili stated that the fight against Jedrzejczyk won’t last too long, and that the former champ has no chances against her.
“I see the fight ending in one or two rounds. I think Joanna possesses great skill with her striking, along with good power, but I believe in my training and team to have me ready to beat her anywhere.”
After losing her debut in MMA, back in 2013, Weili is on a 20-game winning streak, during which she won the KLF, Top FC and UFC strawweight titles, becoming the most dominant fighters in this division.
She sees her advantage in the fact that Jedrzejczyk can’t control her emotions, which will create troubles for her inside the octagon.
“I think she sounds very angry all the time, and her emotions will get her in trouble,” the champ said.”I will calm her down.”
Joanna was the undisputed ruler of the strawweight category for quite some time, and she had five title defenses after beating Carla Esparza at UFC 185 in 2015. But Rose Namajunas dethroned her at UFC 217 and confirmed her win in a rematch at UFC 223. It is something that radically changed the landscape in that division.
Since then, Jedrzejczyk attempted to win the flyweight title, meeting Valentina Shevchenko, but lost that bout via unanimous decision. She came back to strawweight, defeating Michelle Waterson, which was the condition for her to get another chance to reach the throne once again.
— Devin Storm (@DamonSmith34) November 21, 2019
Recently she called out Weili, saying that she would “take a canoe to reach China,” to beat the champion and regain the belt. The 32-year old added that she sees flaws in the Chinese style and that she could defeat her anytime and anywhere.
“I am the more well-rounded fighter,” she said.
Up until recently, this match was not in the plans of neither the organization or the fighters. But everything changed once Jedrzejczyk lost to Shevchenko, leaving her without a belt. It seems that such a situation frustrated Joanna, who was probably the most dominant champion in UFC while her reign lasted. But a couple of loses damaged her reputation, especially those two against Namajunas. She wants to preserve the legacy created over the years, and the recent failures aren’t very helpful. Beating Weili and coming back at the top once again would be an excellent way to prove her worth.
“It will cement my legacy,” said Joanna about the win over the Chinese.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.