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UFC 268: Zhang Weili blames Rose Namajunas for turning UFC fans against her

Did Rose Namajunas make Zhang Weili a communist villain in the eyes of impressionable UFC fans?

UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas will defend her 115-pound title against former division titleholder Zhang Weili as part of the upcoming UFC 268 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for Sat., Nov. 6, 2021 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Namajunas reclaimed the crown by smashing Weili at UFC 261 via first-round head kick, a thunderous finish that sent the ex-champ to her first defeat inside the Octagon. But “Magnum” believes the Florida boo birds were a contributing factor to her performance.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on Sat., July 30, 2022, for the first time in almost four years, headlined by a thrilling women’s Bantamweight championship rematch between division queenpin, Julianna Peña, attempt her first successful title defense against former titleholder and current women’s Featherweight champion, Amanda Nunes. In UFC 277’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, an interim Flyweight champion will be crowned when former titleholder, Brandon Moreno, runs it back with Kai Kara-France.

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I guess this strategy didn’t work out.

“I think it definitely affected me a little bit,” Weili told The MMA Hour (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “The comments that Rose made, I think she was successful in making the audience boo me. But I think that’s my own problem because I should be concentrating on the fight and not the audience. I can’t control who the audience likes. So I’m becoming more focused on my own fight.”

Prior to their UFC 261 title fight, Namajunas used the Cold War slogan “better dead than red” to passively demonize Weili, who hails from communist China, while also calling attention to Lithuania’s history of oppression under the Soviet Union.

And Weili wasn’t the only UFC fighter who took exception to the comments.

“In my mind, I’m coming here because I want to make friends because we all have the common love of martial arts,” Weili continued. “I think it’s not a good thing to mix sport with politics, but I think that’s maybe her plan. So in the beginning, I thought it was just kind of trash talk. It really didn’t affect me. But when I went out in the stadium and got booed, I think Rose wanted to use those comments to make the audience boo me.”

To see who else is fighting at UFC 268 click here.