It’s almost time for Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to lock horns once again as they’re set to meet next weekend (Sat., June 11, 2022) at UFC 275 in Singapore.
It’s been a full two years since fans witnessed one of the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) contests of all time. Battling over the UFC Strawweight title at UFC 248, the then-champion, Zhang walked away as the victor via unanimous decision on that fateful night (watch highlights).
In the meantime, China’s Zhang has remained active while Jedrzejczyk has sat on the sidelines. “Magnum” dropped her title in her following outing against Rose Namajunas (watch highlights) before fighting to a closely contested split decision defeat in their rematch (watch highlights). Also having suffered two losses to Namajunas in succession, Jedrzejczyk revealed that ahead of this second Zhang fight that Namajunas offered to help her fellow former champion in preparation.
“Well, if I’m Rose, I would not do something like this,” Zhang said in a recent interview with Chinese media (h/t zhangweili_xiaopang). “Because Joanna has her own team. ATT (American Top Team) is a very professional, elite team. They produced many champions and you go interfere at this point that’s a little bit. … I don’t know what she’s trying to do.
“Does she think Joanna’s team is not good enough or what? “ she added. “I don’t know. I definitely would not do that in her shoes.”
In regards to Namajunas, her last time out came in yet another rematch, looking to score redemption against Carla Esparza at UFC 274 earlier this month (May 7, 2022). Instead, Esparza saw her hand raised for a second time after facing Namajunas (watch highlights), reclaiming the title for the first time since early 2015.
With UFC 275 right around the corner, the belief is that the Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk 2 winner could be next in line for Esparza. If that ends up being Zhang, she hopes to challenge for the crown before 2023.
“I think this rematch will be entertaining, for sure,” Zhang said. “Because this rematch will determine the title shot. And of course, we both want the title shot. So, we will leave it all in the cage for this fight. I think we have prepared for everything. Long-range, close range, BJJ, standup, everything. We prepare for everything. Because in the cage, less error means more chance of winning.”