It has almost been over a full year since we last saw UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili in action.
Thursday, John Hyon Ko of South China Morning Post reported that the UFC is currently targeting an April event for their return to Singapore with the hopes that the 115-pound champ will headline.
— John Hyon Ko (@JHKMMA) January 29, 2021
“Still in the early stages but the #UFC is targeting a show on April 17th or 24th in Singapore with Zhang Weili as the headliner, per source.” Ko’s tweet read.
October 2019 marked the last time the UFC held an event in Singapore. If they manage to go back in April, it would be the first UFC event to not take place in either Las Vegas or Abu Dhabi since May 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the UFC has been forced to coordinate between these two locations. The current schedule for 2021 is expected to primarily feature events in those areas as well. However, UFC President Dana White recently noted that an event in Asia was possible when discussing Zhang Weili’s next title defense.
MMA during the pandemic would be nothing new for the country of Singapore as ONE Championship has continued doing their thing in 2020 with 16 events. In 2021, ONE has already held its first event and has its second taking place in a matter of hours from the article’s release — though it is believed that some fights have been tape-delayed for later broadcasts.
The last time fans saw Zhang in action, the Chinese striking sensation put on the consensus best fight of 2020 when she earned a split judge’s call opposite Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The win secured the first defense of Zhang’s title and extended her winning streak to 21 in a row.
Former champion, Rose Namajunas, has been the ideal next challenger for Zhang according to White. But due to negotiations breaking down on multiple occasions, the UFC boss has thrown out the possibility of the inaugural UFC champ, Carla Esparza, getting the opportunity instead.
Update: SCMP’s Nick Atkin adds to the report saying No. 3 ranked contender Yan Xiaonan is also being targeted for the potential card.