Zhang Weili was knocked out for the first time in her professional MMA career, as she succumbed to a wild head kick from Rose Namjunas in the co-main event of UFC 261. Weili, thereby lost her women’s strawweight title, which she had held from 2019. As for Rose, she became the first woman in UFC history to win the same title on two separate occasions.
After her loss, Weili issued a statement on Instagram congratulating Rose on her victory, while assuring that she would bounce back from defeat just like Rose did. She hoped that the UFC would schedule a rematch soon.
‘I want to congratulate Rose on her victory‘ – Zhang Weili
Weili wrote, “I want to congratulate Rose on her victory. She bounced back from her defeat. I believe I will also come back, only beat a great champion, to become a legend, and beat a legend, I will become a new me. Before, my goal was to win the UFC championship, but today, I have a higher goal than that. Thank you!
“It’s normal to lose and win. That’s the UFC. Andrade, Joanna, Rose have all lost and they all come back and try again. I have deepened my understanding of UFC today. So I believe I can come back. Hopefully the UFC will schedule a rematch soon.”
Weili was coming off that war against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248, and she was the favourite going into the fight. Despite people giving Rose a chance for emerging victorious, no one expected the fight to have such an ending.
Namajunas is no stranger to defending her title in a rematch. She already did it against Joanna at UFC 223, after she had beat the Pole at UFC 217 to clinch the strawweight title. She then lost her title to Jessica Andrade at UFC 237, which gave Weili the chance to get the belt, which she successfully did.
Rose then went on to beat Andrade at UFC 251, which led her to UFC 261, and boy did she grab them with both hands.