UFC Boss Hoping to Hold Strawweight Champ Weili Zhang’s Next Title Defense in Asia

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jan 11, 2021

The Ultimate Fighting Championship may have plans to move its events beyond Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi in 2020.

UFC president Dana White indicated as much when talking about the promotion’s plans for reigning strawweight queen Weili Zhang in an interview with ESPN.

“We’re working on her, too,” White said. “Obviously, the fight everybody wants to see is her and Rose [Namajunas]. Hopefully we can get that done. If not, the next one in line would probably be Carla Esparza. We’re looking to do that fight this year – and in Asia.”

Zhang last appeared at UFC 248, where retained her belt with a split-decision over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a bout that was selected as Sherdog.com's "Fight of the Year” for 2020. She first claimed the 115-pound title with a first-round stoppage of Jessica Andrade in Shenzhen, China, in August 2019.

The UFC will have fans in a venue for the first time since Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk this month for its trio of events at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Around 2,000 spectators are expected to be allowed inside the 18,000-seat arena for UFC on ABC 1 on Jan. 16, UFC on ESPN 20 on Jan. 20 and UFC 257 on Jan. 23. If White’s statement is any indication, then the promotion could be moving toward holding more events around the world, potentially with fans in attendance.

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