Sorry Michelle, but Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is going in another direction. According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the promotion is looking to book a women’s Strawweight title fight between division champion Jessica Andrade and Weili Zhang for an upcoming Fight Night event in China on August 31. The fight is expected to go down on ESPN+.
Jessica won the belt after knocking out Rose Namajunas at UFC 237 a few weeks ago (see it). While Andrade was open to giving the ex-champ an immediate rematch, “Thug Rose” opted to take some time off to heal from her injuries.
“Rose was definitely interested in the rematch [with Andrade], however right now she is taking time to heal up,” Brian Butler — Rose’s manager — told ESPN. “She had a neck injury before her last fight and now is just going to take the time to take care of herself and get back to 100 percent,” Butler said. “Her plan is to fight sometime by the end of the year. When Rose decides to come back she will come back better than ever.”
Zhang is currently riding a 19 fight win streak dating back to 2014, winning all three of her UFC fights after making her promotional debut just nine months go. In that time, Zhang defeated Danielle Taylor, Jessica Aguilar and most recently took out Tecia Torres at UFC 235.
Top Strawweight Michelle Waterson had been campaigning for her shot at Andrade, as she is currently on a three-fight win streak. UFC president Dana White, though, wasn’t too impressed with her spot on the rankings.
After Tatiana Suarez defeated Nina Ansaroff last Saturday (June 8, 2019) at UFC 238 to earn her eighth straight win, fifth inside the Octagon, popular belief was that she’d get first dibs on the title shot.
Nevertheless, with UFC looking at Andrade vs Zhang, it opens the door for a title eliminator fight between Suarez and Waterson, possibly at the same event.