At UFC Shenzhen, China’s Weili Zhang will attempt to wrest the UFC strawweight title from the waist of champion Jessica Andrade — and she’ll do so with women’s MMA trailblazer Ronda Rousey looking on proudly.
Speaking on her official Instagram account, the former UFC bantamweight champ Rousey discussed the pride she feels seeing how far women’s MMA has come, and sent a special shoutout to Zhang.
“I feel like a proud mama watching how women’s MMA has grown. Women from all walks of life, from all over the world are rising to the challenge and showing the world what it means to fight like a girl. Weili Zhang @zhangweilimma is a prime example of overcoming adversity – fighting not just through the ranks, but to also get noticed and stand out. I’ve definitely taken notice, and so should you. Best of luck to the ladies fighting August 31 on #UFCfightnight157 ” – Ronda Rousey on Instagram
This message unsurprisngly got a reaction from Weili Zhang, who wrote back in the replies to Rousey’s post.
“Wow. Idol. I remember the first time I saw you fight in UFC in 2013. I thought you were so cool. Then I was inspired to be like you. In this many-lined UFC star cage to play a part of our women’s territory. You give me confidence and direction. If I want to slack off when I don’t want to train I’ll find you fighting. That gave me a lot of encouragement@rondarousey” – Weili Zhang on Instagram
UFC President Dana White also took note of this exchange between Ronda Rousey and Jessica Andrade.
— Dana White (@danawhite) August 22, 2019
“Cool to see the respect from Ronda for the @jessicammapro vs Weili Zhang fight next Saturday.” – Dana White on Twitter.
Ronda Rousey is happily retired from MMA, but as her comments on Weili Zhang vs. Jessica Andrade indicate, she’s still proud of her impact on the sport.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/22/2019.