Former UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili provided some new insight into her recent loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261 earlier this year and says that the brutal leg break by UFC middleweight Chris Weidman in the fight before hers completely distracted her and put her off her game.
Weili was knocked out by Namajunas via a brutal high kick in the first round of their matchup at UFC 261, in the first full-capacity UFC pay-per-view since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Weili was clearly devastated by the loss, even going as far as protesting the stoppage immediately afterwards with octagon officials.
In a recent documentary appearance for the production “My Bronze Age”, Weili provided her thoughts and feelings when she saw Weidman snap his leg in the center of the octagon while preparing for her fight in the locker room.
“The fighter in my previous fight, who was in the same waiting room as me [Weidman], his leg was snapped,” Weili said. “I even touched gloves with him when he left for the fight, and I said ‘good luck’. I saw his leg snapped like that … I felt like my mind wasn’t completely focused on the match. I wasn’t as focused. You can’t lose focus for even 0.01 seconds. It’s that cruel.”
Up until Weili’s loss to Namajunas, she was one of the biggest names in the UFC after her legendary five-round scrap with Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first title defense. Weili talked bout her aspirations to potentially move up to challenge for the flyweight belt, but those plans were spoiled with the knockout loss to Namajunas.
Weili is expected to return to the UFC octagon later this year, or possibly early next year, most likely in a title rematch against Namajunas. UFC president Dana White has already shared his interest in booking an immediate rematch between Weili and Namajunas next for the strawweight title.
What are your thoughts on Zhang Weili’s recent comments on her UFC 261 loss?