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Weili Zhang on Rose Namajunas: ‘Hopefully we become friends’ after UFC 261 fight

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UFC 248: Adesanya v Romero Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC women’s Strawweight champion Weili Zhang is set to face former champ Rose Namajunas at UFC 261 on April 24, 2021. It’s a five-round fight that’s definitely going to be a war. But after the war ... peace? And perhaps even friendship?

Zhang shared her positive feelings toward Namajunas during a conference call with Chinese media (via the South China Morning Post).

“From an exchange of blows, friendship grows,” Zhang suggested. “So I hope maybe we will become friends after this fight. It’s because Rose is a humble and very great fighter. She beat Joanna [Jedrzejczyk] twice and won against [Jessica] Andrade. She is a competitor with very good ability and I have always hoped I can fight with her.

“I feel a connection to those who fight martial arts, and we build friendships through the martial arts,” she continued. “We learn from each other and exchange our views when we fight together.”

Zhang revealed that she’s been following Namajunas for a while, and all that attention should pay off with insights on how to beat her when they face off.

“I came to know about Rose in the early days,” Zhang said. “I have been paying attention to her during her fights. Her fist work is very fast. Her punches are also very accurate. We definitely have had specific training for that. I hope everyone can watch the live broadcast to see how I target her.”

There’s Mystic Mac and there’s Mystic Michael Chandler ... but Mystic Zhang? No sir. The humble champion simply said she hoped to perform well.

“Now, on predicting what will happen in the fight, how should I phrase it?” she said. “During the fight, anything can happen. A KO may happen. The fight may end. Perhaps, I could be beaten. But I will try my very best to fight a good fight.”

UFC 261 is a triple title affair with Welterweight champ Kamaru Usman facing Jorge Masvidal, Weili Zhang defending her women’s Strawweight title against Rose Namajunas, and women’s Flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko facing Jessica Andrade.