UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang has stated her desire to avoid an immediate rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
The two 115lb fighters went to war over five rounds in one of MMA’s all-time great fights at UFC 248 earlier this month. After 25 minutes of war, the judge’s scorecards read in favour of Zhang by split decision – however many believe former champion Jedrzejczyk did enough to get the decision.
Both fighters are now healing up and self-isolating in a world overcome by the coronavirus. During this time Jedrzejczyk has gone on record to call for the rematch. However, it now appears Zhang isn’t too keen on that idea. Speaking to ESPN, the 115lb champion explained why she’d prefer to fight someone else.
“I have no clue when my next fight would be yet, since everything is stuck by this COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to fight here in the U.S. again, since I have seen a massive number of Chinese and Asian people here motivated by my fight who will definitely cheer for me. Also U.S. has the biggest MMA fan base. I don’t want the rematch yet. I would like to give opportunities to other fighters in line.”
After taking the time to reflect, Zhang wasn’t happy with her performance at UFC 248 but was glad that so many Chinese fans got to see her compete.
“I have not watched it yet, since I did not put on my best performance and showcase my best shape in training. I appreciate the support and recognition from all my fans, and I am glad they enjoyed the fight. Joanna and I both put on our toughness and will inside the Octagon to make the fight fascinating. People back in China are all very motivated and credit my hard work and show tons of respect to all athletes who compete for our country. Almost all mainstream media has interviewed me. I heard there were over 100 million views of the fight within 24 hours in China. So many fans jammed the Chinese pay-per-view website to watch it live, the server went down.”
Should Weili Zhang immediately rematch Joanna Jedrzejczyk?