UFC women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang could make her next title defense in Asia, according to UFC president Dana White.
Zhang is one of the top female fighters in the sports and she is looking to make a grand return to the Octagon in 2021, following a “Fight of the Year” performance against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 in March 2020. Zhang was not able to fight again following the COVID-19 pandemic, but she is hoping to fight again in the next few months. While most assumed she would make her next title defense in Las Vegas or on Fight Island, there is now a chance she could fight in Asia instead.
According to White, the UFC has some big plans for the remainder of 2021 and a potential visit to Asia is on the docket. The UFC bossman said that he’s hoping to get Zhang back in the Octagon again soon, and he hopes it’s in Asia. White also suggested both Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza as potential opponents for her.
“We’re working on (Zhang). Obviously, the fight that everybody wants to see is her and Rose. Hopefully, we can get that done. If not, the next one in line would probably be Carla Esparza. So we’re looking at doing that fight this year, and in Asia,” White told ESPN.
We already knew that Namajunas and Esparza were the two fighters in the running for Zhang. But the location is something we didn’t know before. Aside from the Fight Island events, the UFC hasn’t held an event outside of the United States since a Brazil card last March before the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down. The fact White is now suggesting the UFC might hold an event in Asia is interesting. It makes you wonder where the event might be, and if there would be a bubble.
Either way, it’s good to know that Zhang will be stepping into the Octagon again soon. It will likely be a year between fights for Zhang, so she doesn’t have as much momentum right now as she did before her long layoff. But the fact that she could make her next title defense in Asia, and potentially in front of her friends and family, should be all that Zhang and her fans need to get hyped up for her next fight. Where that takes place and if that’s against Namajunas or Esparza remains to be seen.
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