It's only a matter of time before UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili no longer needs a translator to speak to her non-Chinese fans. Embracing her role as a global ambassador for the sport, Zhang showcased her commitment to learning the world's most spoken language.
Zhang, who was in attendance for tonight's UFC Fight Night event at the Apex, spoke to media members about her upcoming schedule. Asked when she expects to return to action, Zhang surprisingly answered the question in English:
"I think UFC have plan. I think maybe summer."
Check out Zhang Weili's interview in the clip below:
The 33-year-old recently recaptured the strawweight belt against Carla Esparza to become a two-time champion at UFC 281. Aware of her position as a wanted woman, Zhang revealed that she's open to fighting all comers, even her compatriot Yan Xiaonan.
Zhang previously claimed that she was not too keen to take on Yan due to their obvious ties as fellow natives of China. But now that she's regained the title, "Magnum" said she understands that every fighter in the division wants to fight her. She added that she wasn't going to deny Yan that opportunity.
Right now, though, it's still unclear who the UFC could select as Zhang's first title challenger. Rose Namajunas is presumably in the running as she owns two victories over Zhang.
Amanda Lemos, who won two out of her three fights in 2022, has also made a solid case for her contendership.
Zhang Weili targets UFC title defense in China
Zhang Weili revealed that she intends to defend her UFC strawweight title in front of her hometown fans sometime in 2023.
During the UFC 281 post-fight press conference, Zhang was asked if she was hopeful that the UFC would consider coming back to China to host her title defense. In response, the newly-crown titleholder said:
"If we can do it, if the UFC can do it, I hope I can defend my title next year in China. A billion Chinese MMA fans, they are looking for a big pay-per-view event in China."
Watch Zhang Weili's interview below:
Zhang’s first title win took place in Shenzhen, China, back in August 2019. The UFC hasn't been back in China since.
The event was geared towards local time, which meant many North American viewers didn’t get the chance to watch her victory live. However, Zhang has grown in popularity since, as was evident in the loud cheers she received from the New York crowd at Madison Square Garden.
YOU could be the NEXT FACE of Sportskeeda Wrestling. Click on the link to find out how! https://sportskeeda.typeform.com/to/BR2mN5bd