UFC women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang could have a new title challenger in the form of fellow China native Yan Xiaonan.
Zhang is, of course, the UFC champion at women’s 115lbs and she is one of the best female fighters in the world. At 21-1, Zhang hasn’t lost since her MMA debut in 2013. Since joining the UFC in 2018, Zhang is a perfect 5-0 in the Octagon. She won the title from Jessica Andrade in August 2019 and successfully defended it against rival Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March 2020 at UFC 248 in one of the best fights of the year thus far.
Zhang seems likely to fight top contender Rose Namajunas in her next title defense, but that fight is not official yet and someone else could always slide in. If that’s the case, then Xiaonan seems to be the perfect candidate. At 13-1, 1 NC in her MMA career, Xiaonan hasn’t lost since 2010. Since joining the UFC in 2017, Xiaonan has gone 5-0 and on Saturday at UFC Vegas 13, she picked up a massive win over Claudia Gadelha.
Following her win over Gadelha, Xiaonan spoke to the media and said that she believes she’s one fight away from UFC president Dana White giving her a shot at Zhang’s belt.
“I think I’m one shot away from getting a title shot from Dana White. Everybody’s seen my entire grappling tactics. I’m getting better,” White said (via MMAjunkie.com).
“If it’s going to be a championship fight it’s going to show the whole world how strong Chinese women really are.”
A fight between the two best Chinese female fighters in MMA sells itself. Odds are the UFC gives Namajunas the next title shot at 115lbs, but should Zhang prove victorious in that bout, then Xiaonan could certainly be next in line for a crack at the belt. She probably needs one more win, but after beating Gadelha, she’s well on her way.
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