Now-former strawweight champion Zhang Weili has spoken out on social media for the first time since her devestating knockout loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261 on Saturday night.
Weili made her first appearance in the octagon since her epic war with Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 last year. Many questioned what the champion would bring to the table in her first fight in a little over a year, and those questions were answered as Namajunas knocked out Weili with a huge head kick just minutes into the first round.
After suffering from the agony of defeat, Weili took to Instagram to reach out to her fans, seeming humble in the process.
“I want to congratulate Rose on her victory,” Weili said in an Instagram post. “She bounced back from her defeat. I believe I will also come back, only beat a great champion, to become a legend, and beat a legend.”
Weili and Namajunas had some uncomfortable moments leading up to their bout, with “Thug Rose” injecting politics into the conversation based on her own experiences with communism; which is prevalent in Weili’s native China. After the fight, it appeared that the two had made amends, with Namajunas showing tremendous respect for the defeated champion.
Namajunas will now begin her second stint as the UFC’s women’s strawweight champion, a title that she hasn’t held since May 2019. Namajunas could conceivably offer Weili an immediate rematch, as she did with Jedrzejczyk during her first reign as strawweight queen; for now that remains unclear.
As for Weili, there are plenty of options and opportunities for her to regain her throne and get the belt back. She could rematch Namajunas or battle Jedrzejczyk in a title eliminator bout and a rematch of their first battle last year.
On top of scoring the big knockout win, Namajunas also earned a Performance of the Night $50,000 bonus from UFC president Dana White following the event.
What was your reaction to Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili? What do you think is next for both fighters?