Zhang: Fight With Jedrzejczyk Has Deeper Meaning
Despite the problems she has had to face amid the coronavirus outbreak, Weili Zhang never thought about postponing her fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Zhang defends her women’s strawweight title against Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event of UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas. However, her training camp in Beijing was disrupted earlier this month due to the coronavirus outbreak which originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
With over 80,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide at the time of writing, Zhang was forced to relocate twice, first to Thailand and then Abu Dhabi. She has since touched down in Las Vegas this past weekend.
But even with all the traveling, jet lag and stress, Zhang never once thought about postponing the fight.
“I never thought there would be any problem to impact the fight,” Zhang told ESPN. “Also, my coaching team is here with me this time, so I never thought those things will impact the fight. Everyone is eager to see me fight against Joanna. I’m excited about the fight as well.
“I watched Joanna’s fight several years ago in China when she was still the champion. At that time, I watched her fight every day and was always imagining to fight against her. Now the day is coming. I look forward to it.”
More than anything, Zhang believes her first title defense has a deeper significance and not only because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I think this fight has a deeper significance to me,” Zhang added. “It is a fight for me and people battling all kinds of difficulties, not only the virus. All of us face difficulties, therefore it means a lot to us. It would be a great thing if I could help inspire them and give them confidence.”
Zhang defeated Jessica Andrade via first-round TKO at UFC Shenzhen last August to become the strawweight champion. Jedrzejczyk, meanwhile, is coming off a dominant decision victory over Michelle Waterson and will be looking to become a two-time champion.