UFC president Dana White has high hopes for his strawweight women’s champion, Weili Zhang.
Zhang will make her first 115-pound title defense against former division queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas. It will be Zhang’s first fight as champion on U.S. soil, and the third time she has competed in the country overall. The 30-year-old comes off a first-round stoppage win over Jessica Andrade to capture the strawweight title.
She did so in front of her native Chinese crowd in Shenzhen. Recently, UFC president Dana White did an interview with ESPN to cover a wide range of topics. One of them being Zhang and her upcoming title defense. White believes Zhang can be one of the UFC’s biggest stars ever, especially coming off a talk show appearance in China which was seen by 1.3 billion people. (H/T BJPenn.com)
“Huge. And she continues to grow over there and become a star. She’ll fight and try to defend her belt here in Vegas, is what I want, so we’ll see how that plays out. When you have somebody who’s from another country and they’re on the rise, when you start fighting in Vegas, it makes a big impact on them at home,” White said.
“She just did this show in China where 1.3 billion people watched it. If she can continue to defend that belt, she’s going to be a massive star. Maybe one of the biggest stars ever in UFC history.”
Zhang will be provided with a truly difficult task in her first title defense against Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk has proven to be one of the most dominant strikers women’s MMA has ever seen, however, Zhang’s power and unpredictability have been key in her rise to the top of the strawweight mountain. If she can pick up a big win over Jedrzejczyk in March, there’s no telling how big her star could grow.
What do you think about White claiming Zhang can be one of the UFC’s biggest stars?