Weili Zhang seemingly unfazed by “better dead than red” comments made by Rose Namajunas

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

Women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang has responded to the “better dead than red” comments made by her upcoming opponent Rose Namajunas.

Zhang (21-1 MMA) and Namajunas (9-4 MMA) are set to square off in the co-main event of UFC 261 on April 24 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Leading up to the fight the promotions reigning 115-pound champion, Weili Zhang, suggested that she hoped to befriend Rose Namajunas following their clash at UFC 261.

“From an exchange of blows, friendship grows,” Zhang said via South China Morning Post. “So I hope maybe we will become friends after this fight. It’s because Rose is a humble and very great fighter. She beat Joanna [Jedrzejczyk] twice and won against [Jessica] Andrade. She is a competitor with very good ability and I have always hoped I can fight with her. I feel a connection to those who fight martial arts, and we build friendships through the martial arts. We learn from each other and exchange our views when we fight together.”

UFC 261-Zhang-Weili
PhotoCred: South China Morning Post / UFC

Despite Weili Zhang’s seemingly genuine gesture, Rosa Namajunas is clearly taking a different approach to their title fight at UFC 261, one that many considered to be controversial.

“I was just kind of reminding myself of my background and everywhere that I come from and my family and everything like that, and I kind of wanted to educate my training partner (Chico Camus) on the Lithuanian struggle and just the history of it all, so we watched ‘The Other Dream Team’ just to kind of get an overall sentiment of what we fight for. After watching that, it was just a huge reminder of like, yeah, it’s better dead than red, you know? And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Weili is red. That’s what she represents,” said Namajunas.

Many expected that the recent political comments made by ‘Thug Rose’ would jar a reaction from Weili Zhang. However, the reigning strawweight queen appears unfazed by the trash talk, remaining focused on the fight itself.

“Let’s Gooooooooooo UFC261 here we are!” – Zhang shared an hour ago on Instagram after arriving in Las Vegas.

Prior to landing in Nevada, Weili Zhang shared the following thoughts on Rose Namajunas in a interview with CGTN Sports Scene.

“Rose is really strong and she beat Joanna twice. She’s also humble and always ready to learn. I saw on social media that she is practicing Wing Chun, Chinese Kung Fu. I think she deserves respect.” said Zhang. “We are both fighters exploring different ideas about mixed martial arts. An old Chinese saying goes: ‘You can’t know a person well without conflict, no discord, no concord. Fighting doesn’t always mean you see someone as your enemy, but through fighting we can know each other better.”

Who do you think will walk away with the UFC strawweight title when Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas collide on April 24?

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