Not long after Weili Zhang captured the UFC strawweight belt with a first-round stoppage of Jessica Andrade at UFC Shenzhen, fans began to speculate as to who might provide the new champ’s first challenge. UFC President Dana White seems to be undecided on that.
Speaking to ESPN this week, White was asked who might serve as Zhang’s new opponent. The frontrunners would seem to be the undefeated Tatiana Suarez, the former champion Rose Namajunas, or the winner of the upcoming fight between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson.
The UFC boss said it will depend who is healthy and who is ready at the time.
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’ve been on the road this whole time. Now we’re dealing wth Abu Dhabi [and UFC 242] and all the things that are going on here. So I haven’t really sat down in a real matchmaking meeting and thought about it.
“It’s going to depend on a lot of things,” White continued. “The outcome of that [Jedrzejczyk-Waterson] fight. Who’s next? Who’s ready? Is Rose ready? Who’s healthy? A lot of different things. That’s how Weili Zhang ended up getting the title shot, it’s because the way that everything played out.”
While Dana White is clearly undecided on the first challenger for Weili Zhang, Joanna Jedrzejczyk recently claimed she’s been promised a title shot with a win over Michelle Waterson.
“We have in the contract that the win will get a duel of the strawweight category. The fight for the title is closer than we think,” Jedrzejczyk said in a translated interview with Poland’s Polsat Sport. “After the victory with Michelle on October 12, I hope that in the first quarter of 2020 I will get a chance to return to the throne.”
Who do you think Dana White will name as Weili Zhang’s first title challenger? Who deserves the opportunity. Share your thoughts in the comments down below.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/4/2019.