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Lin Heqin: ‘Role model’ Zhang Weili and team led to ‘great MMA journey’

“I started my MMA training career first at Black Tiger with Zhang Weili so there was good memories and good experiences.”

Among China’s finest mixed martial artists, some of the absolute best reside within the 115 pound weight class where multiple have helped each other out at one point or another — at least in the case of ONE Championship’s Lin Heqin and a now historical figure.

The 28-year-old Lin began her career in 2015, roughly two years after Zhang Weili also got started. Together at the Black Tiger Fight Club in Beijing, China, each were able to learn and grow, carving out different paths. For Zhang, she went through China’s Kunlun Fights promotion, holding the title before joining Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and becoming the country’s first champion in the Octagon.

Lin (15-3-1) also fought her way through Kunlun Fights but instead joined ONE where she’s beginning to truly get her momentum rolling after her two most recent victories. If it weren’t for her time at Black Tiger, however, the Fighting Brothers Club representative may not have made it as far as she has.

“I started my MMA training career first at Black Tiger with Zhang Weili so there was good memories and good experiences,” Lin told MMA Mania. “They led me to this career, this great MMA journey.

“Me and her, we have two different styles so it’s not like everybody trains that way [that she does],” she continued. “I’m kind of different with my training. I haven’t trained with her for a very long time but she’s always been like a role model for me so I’m looking forward for another chance [to train in the future].”

In ONE, fighters have multiple options with combat sports and don’t have to compete exclusively in MMA. After a rebound win against Bi Nguyen by unanimous decision in February 2022, Lin utilized her options and turned right around, making her kickboxing debut one month later.

Defeating Milagros Lopez via unanimous decision, Lin looked as comfortable as ever and is open to more kickboxing opportunities if presented in between her primary MMA career.

When it comes to continuing her push toward a ONE MMA title, Lin will do so on Aug. 26, 2022, in Kallang, Singapore, looking to hand top Japanese prospect, Itsuki Hirata, the second consecutive loss of her career. The bout will be showcased on Amazon Prime for the first time since the promotion came to a deal with the video service, therefore, Lin will be adjusting to fighting in the morning rather than the night.

Regardless, “MMA Sister’s” confidence is well intact and she has her callout ready.

“I believe that she will play her own style,” Lin said of Hirata. “I’m not so impressed with her striking, actually. I believe with that kind of a strong judo style, she will try to push me on the cage and use her wrestling as soon as possible. I will be ready for that and I hope more for a striking game to happen on fight night.

“It’s not my call [on what would happen after], it’s up to the promotion,” she concluded. “But I will definitely call out Angela Lee if I take this victory, right after in the cage. So whether I’m gonna have the chance or not, I will do that.”

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