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Zhang Weili reveals what she wants to be remembered for, excited to test wrestling at UFC 281

UFC 275: Teixeira v Prochazka Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Zhang Weili is ready to make some more history next weekend (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) at UFC 281 in New York City.

Prior to her upcoming title shot against Carla Esparza in UFC 281’s co-main event, Zhang was once a titleholder herself. “Magnum” captured the Strawweight crown in Aug. 2019 with a devastating finish at home over Jessica Andrade in just 32 seconds.

Directly after capturing the title in Shenzhen, China, Zhang dropped her now-famous quote, telling fans, “My name is Zhang Weili. I’m from China, remember me!” Three years later, she’s answered the question asking what exactly she wants to be remembered for.

LIVE! Watch UFC 282 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

YEAR-END PPV BLOWOUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) closes out its final pay-per-view (PPV) of the year on Sat., Dec. 10, 2022, with a battle for the vacant Light Heavyweight crown between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Jan Blachowicz, looking to stop the momentum of No. 3-seeded Magomed Ankalaev. In the co-main event of UFC 282, which will take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, breakout star, Paddy Pimblett, intends to keep his momentum going at the expense of gritty veteran, Jared Gordon.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“I think it’s more about remembering my spirit, the feeling of fighting,” Zhang told Fruiting Body Podcast. “Then I thought maybe because I didn’t train at a very early age, I didn’t really start training until I was 25 years old, so I think everyone has their own dreams. Then we have a dream and we go after it. Don’t say, ‘Ah, can I now?’ Or, ‘I can’t do it because I’m too old.’

“I just want everyone to remember that as long as you have a dream, you do it,” she continued. “Don’t say, ‘I can’t do it now. I’m old now,’ or ‘I can’t for this reason or that reason.’ I think if you have your own dream, you can do it. I am also 25 years old, I actually stopped for five years then did it again. In fact, I follow many other people’s ideas and what they say. It would be difficult.”

Zhang was the first Chinese champion in UFC history as well as the first Asian female champion. A win over Esparza next weekend would see her join the likes of the current champion, Esparza, the former champion, Rose Namajunas, and Amanda Nunes, as the only four women to have multiple title reigns in UFC history.

“I think everyone is an individual and women shouldn’t be defined by who they are,” Zhang said. “Girls, girls are also individuals. It doesn’t mean that I am very thin, very beautiful, and have long hair, it’s beautiful. I don’t think that’s the case. Girls can be powerful, and they can also have short hair. Everyone is different and beauty is different in different ways.”

At UFC 275 in June 2022, Zhang scored a highlight-reel spinning back fist knockout against Joanna Jedrzejczyk (watch highlights) to earn her third career title shot. Going from that fight to the upcoming one presents an extreme contrast in styles for Zhang, and she’s well aware of the challenge that comes with that.

“Because Joanna and Carla, they are different fighters ... Joanna is a stand-up fighter, Carla is a wrestler, so our tactics will definitely have some changes,” Zhang said.

“It’s my first time fighting a wrestler, I’ve never fought a wrestler before,” she concluded. “I’m very excited and I also want to test my wrestling and my controlling skills.”


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 281 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (on ESPNEWS/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 281: “Adesanya vs. Pereira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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