Dana White is very high on UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang, who defended her belt in an absolute war with the former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event of last Saturday’s UFC 248 card.
White gushed over Zhang at the UFC 248 post-fight press conference, announcing that the Chinese champion has become a major needle-mover in her homeland, a territory the UFC is working hard to break into.
“We always knew she was special,” White said (via MMA Fighting). “We knew she was special, and we started moving her the way you move somebody you think is special. … Tonight, she went in against the best ever from that division, the woman who built that division, defended that belt five times, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk came in ridiculous, incredible shape. The amount of experience she has over Weili Zhang is massive, and you saw how good she looked tonight.
“I only expect her to get better, look better. And I think she made a lot of fans tonight. She got a good pop from the crowd when she walked out, the fans were behind her, and she murdered it in China, which is more important to me than the U.S., you know? [It’s] great people like her in the U.S., I love it — I want people to like her everywhere, but China was a huge success. We will continue to move her around.”
Perhaps the most interesting of all of White’s comments on Zhang surrounded the promotional push the Chinese champ is getting from the UFC.
White divulged that there’s something of a formula the company follows when promoting fighters it deems valuable. It’s the same formula that was used to turn Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey into massive, mainstream stars, and according to White, the same formula that will be used with respect to Zhang.
“We did it with Conor McGregor, we’ve done it with Ronda, we’ve done it with all the greats, and we’re gonna do it with her,” White said. “She’s gonna be a massive star. The fighting sport is so crazy you gotta keep winning. If you keep winning, you’re gonna be a star.”
How big of a star do you think Weili Zhang will become?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/9/2020.