White Plans On Building Zhang Into Massive Star
UFC president Dana White plans on making Weili Zhang the next big star for the company.
Zhang successfully defended her women’s strawweight title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk after a five-round war in the co-main event of UFC 248 this past weekend. The back-and-forth fight — which Zhang won via split decision — was so good that many observers are calling it one of the best in mixed martial arts history.
Jedrzejczyk naturally played a big part, but for White, the fight only cemented how special he knew Zhang was as a competitor.
“We always knew she was special,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “We knew she was special, and we started moving her the way you move somebody you think is special. Then this crazy thing happened where she was ranked number six and all the people in front of her either had a fight, just lost a fight and she was in line to fight Jessica Andrade who is an absolute beast. We were saying, ‘is she ready for her?’ We don’t know but she’s next in line so let’s do it. So we decided to do it and the result was incredible.
“Tonight, she went in against the best ever from that division, the woman who built that division, defended the title five times, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk came in ridiculous, incredible shape. The amount of experience she has over Weili Zhang is massive, and you saw how good she [Zhang] looked tonight.
“I only expect her to get better, look better. And I think she made a lot of fans tonight. She got a good pop from the crowd when she walked out, the fans were behind her, and she murdered it in China, which is more important to me than the U.S., you know? Great people like her in the U.S., I love it — I want people to like her everywhere, but China was a huge success. We will continue to move her around.”
White certainly has a vested interest in Zhang doing well given the Chinese market. But that aside, he feels “Magnum” can be the next big mega star similar to Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey.
It is one reason why he plans on having her fight in New York City in the future.
“There’s a certain pattern when you’re building somebody and you’re trying to build them into a star and there’s a pattern,” White added. “We did it with Conor McGregor, we’ve done it with Ronda, we’ve done it with all the greats. And we’re gonna do it with her.”
Do you think Zhang is the next big UFC star?