Weili Zhang believes Rose Namajunas crossed the line with her “better dead than red” line.
Zhang took on Namajunas back in April. At the time, Zhang was the UFC Strawweight Champion. Ahead of the fight, Namajunas said Zhang represents communism. It was a rant that Zhang feels led to MMA fans turning on her.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour, Weili Zhang admitted Namajunas’ comments got inside her head (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
“I think it definitely affected me a little bit. The comments that Rose made, I think she was successful in making the audience boo me. But I think that’s my own problem because I should be concentrating on the fight and not the audience. I can’t control who the audience likes. So I’m becoming more focused on my own fight.”
Zhang ended up losing the 135-pound gold to Namajunas at UFC 261 via first-round knockout. She expressed her belief that Namajunas was out of line with her comments prior to the fight.
“In my mind, I think that, yes, those comments crossed the line because I think all the audience, all the fighters, we all come together in the UFC because we all share the passion of the MMA sport. In my mind, I’m coming here because I want to make friends because we all have the common love of martial arts. I think it’s not a good thing to mix sport with politics, but I think that’s maybe her plan. So in the beginning, I thought it was just kind of trash talk. It really didn’t affect me. But when I went out in the stadium and got booed, I think Rose wanted to use those comments to make the audience boo me.”
Zhang and Namajunas will have a rematch at UFC 268 on Nov. 6. Of course, the strawweight title will be up for grabs.