Weili Zhang likely to defend title against Rose Namajunas in first quarter of 2021, says coach

Weili Zhang
Image via @zhangweilimma on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Pedro Jordao, one of the coaches behind UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang, says his pupil is likely to defend her title against Rose Namajunas in early 2021.

“We’ll see how things go with this virus,” Jordao told MMA Fighting, laying out the timeframe for a long rumored fight between Zhang and Namajunas. “But I think (the fight) will probably be in the first quarter. … We’re training for a while here. It appears that her next fight will be against Rose, but nothing is set yet. Everything indicates that’s the plan — and it makes sense, everybody knows that.”

Namajunas, who previously ruled over the UFC strawweight division, remains one of the division’s toughest fighters, and is widely considered one of Zhang’s toughest foes to date.

Jordao, however, feels the champion is well prepared for this challenge.

“She’s another tough opponent,” Jordao said. “I think Rose is more technical (than Zhang’s previous opponents), more calm, and very talented. It’s time to test that.

“I know she’s probably training really hard, but I think it’s a good match-up for Weili Zhang style-wise. People say she’s is very strong, very strong, but we’ve seen how technical she is, too. I trust Weili and think she will be able to defeat Rose.”

Given that Zhang is known first and foremost as a striker, and that Namajunas has flaunted a lethal ground game in the past, many fans feel the challenger would be wise to drag this fight to the mat. Yet Jordao reminds that Zhang is no slouch in the grappling department.

“She has taken every opponent down in the UFC except for ‘Bate Estaca’ (Andrade),” Jordao said of Zhang. “She’s always training jiu-jitsu, she’s very well-rounded. I train with her for six years and I watch her evolution closely, I know how powerful her strikes are, her technique on the ground, how strong is her guillotine and rear-naked choke, her armbar. She’s very confident on the ground. She’s not afraid to go to the ground.”

Do you think Weili Zhang can successfully defend her title against Rose Namajunas next year?