Former undisputed UFC strawweight champion, Zhang Weili has criticized the performance of two-time opponent, Rose Namajunas during her UFC 274 title loss against Carla Esparza last month in Pheonix, Arizona – claiming the former only intended to “take care” of her title rather than putting in a performance which would retain it.
Weili, a two-time opponent of Namajunas, suffered her lone UFC losses against the ONX Labs trainee, the first of which came in a shocking first round title loss against Namajunas – courtesy of a brutal high-kick knockout in April of last year.
Returning in an immediate undisputed championship rematch at UFC 268 in November, Weili suffered a more comprehensive unanimous decision loss to the two-time titleholder.
Set to return this weekend in an attempt to snap a two-fight skid, Hebei native, Weili welcomes former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk back to the Octagon for the first time since their momentous UFC 248 battle – as the pair engage in a clear-cut title-eliminator at 115lbs.
Sharing her thoughts on Namajunas’ criticized performance at UFC 274 in the ‘Copper State’, Weili claimed that the now-former champion only intended on taking care of her undisputed title – to her detriment.
“I feel like, definitely Rose (Namajunas) was feeling a lot of pressure when she stepped into the Octagon, Zhang Weili said through an interpreter during her media availability ahead of UFC 275 in Singapore. “Definitely, she wanted to take care of her belt and didn’t want to fight hard, wanted to fight more strategically and easily against Carla (Esparza).
“But, as a champion, as an MMA fighter, you should not think about that,” Zhang Weili said. “Tou should always, in the fight, (give) your everything into the Octagon, and fight your heart out. I don’t think Rose should fight with an attitude like (that).”
Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk were both heralded for their UFC 248 performance
Weili’s most recent professional victory came in the form of her first and ultimately sole successful title defense against the aforenoted, Jedrzejczyk back in March 2020, defeating her upcoming opponent with a close, split decision victory in the consensus 2020 Fight of the Year.