Weili Zhang made history earlier today (Sat., Aug. 31, 2019) at UFC on ESPN+ 15 live on ESPN+ from inside Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China, when she became UFC’s first Chinese champion with a 42-second TKO win over women’s strawweight queen Jessica Andrade.
Zhang’s performance was incredibly impressive to say the least. Not only was she competing in her first ever UFC main event, but she’s only been fighting in the promotion since August of last year. Add in the fact that Andrade was considered one of the most dominant and overwhelming female fighters in the world today and Zhang’s showing seems even more special.
While Zhang is just getting started in her UFC career, her main event win at UFC Shenzhen has people already drawing comparisons to former UFC titleholder Ronda Rousey. Considering Zhang is the first Chinese champion in UFC history and Rousey was the first female champion in UFC history, it makes sense.
UFC president Dana White discussed those early comparisons during UFC Shenzhen’s post-fight press conference (see it HERE).
“I don’t know if you saw this week, but Ronda Rousey posted on Instagram message to Weili and Jessica this weekend,” said White. “The fight that happened tonight the UFC is a global sport, so tonight Weili Zhang’s performance was so good and so big people were watching this fight in Canada, United States, Brazil, and the Middle East.
“Weili Zhang became a huge star tonight globally, not just here in China,” he continued. “Obviously, the first-ever Chinese world champion. She’s still very fresh and young in her career. We’ll see what is in store for her, but she’s off to a good start.”
Zhang, 30, has displayed this type of dominance her entire career. After losing her first professional bout, the Chinese fighter captured 18-straight wins en route to this title opportunity against Andrade. Zhang took full advantage, rose to the occasion, and captured UFC gold in the most dramatic way possible.
While Rousey has slowly started to fall out of the discussion as the best female fighter of all time, due mostly to the legendary rise of current UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes, she remains the gold standard for female superstars in combat sports. Zhang has a long way to go before she even sniffs the level of notoriety that Rousey carried, and still does, but this was an unforgettable outing that can not go overlooked.
For complete UFC Shenzhen results and coverage click here.