Rose Namajunas drummed up some controversy ahead of her title tilt with Zhang Weili at UFC 261. For Zhang’s fellow China native and top strawweight contender, Yan Xiaonan, the comments could have been done without.
In an interview with Lithuanian-based media before UFC 261, Namajunas would talk about her background and the upcoming matchup with Zhang. Ultimately it led to the now-infamous “better dead than red” comment which was a political insinuation. Yan believes the result of the comments did the opposite of what they should have.
“I don’t like that, I don’t think she should bring politics into sport,” Yan told South China Morning Post regarding Namajunas’ comments. “Sports is a way to unite people but what she did is just separating people. I don’t like that.
“Everybody can have her or his own thoughts, she can say what she wants but she can not change anything.”
The former champion in Namajunas would end up going on to knock out Zhang in just 78 seconds to become the first two-time female champion in UFC history. Dana White expressed interest in making an immediate rematch following UFC 261’s conclusion but if that will happen remains to be seen.
Yan Xiaonan (13-1) currently sits comfortably at the No. 3 spot in the UFC strawweight rankings and rides a strong six-fight winning streak in the promotion. This Saturday night at UFC Vegas 27 she takes on the inaugural champion of the division, Carla Esparza, in what she expects to be a fight that will decide the next challenger for Namajunas.
“I’m so excited about this,” Yan said. “I’m just step by step getting closer to the position of what I expected. So now I’m in the co-main event, maybe one more step to my ultimate goal to be a main eventer.”