VIDEO: When Tony Ferguson Gifted Weili Zhang His Baseball

Published 04/22/2021, 10:37 AM EDT


UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang returns to action this weekend as she defends her belt against Rose Namajunas in the co-main event of UFC 261. The Chinese fighter defeated Jessica Andrade in 2019 to capture the strawweight belt. She has defended it once since against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

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‘Magnum’ will probably face her toughest opponent to date when she fights Namajunas. Ahead of the intriguing contest, we take a look at the beautiful relationship Zhang shares with his favorite fighter, Tony Ferguson. ‘El Cucuy’ is a role model to many because of his personality and dedication to the sport.

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The pair always interact on social media. They met at the UFC 249 pre-fight press conference when Ferguson was originally set to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. Zhang was present too as she fought Joanna Jedrzejczyk the day after. Ferguson kissed Zhang as a gesture of good luck and gifted her his baseball.

Weili Zhang reacts to her interaction with Tony Ferguson

‘Magnum’ was elated, to say the least, to receive that honor from ‘El Cucuy’. After her win against Jedrzejczyk, she sat down for an interview with Ariel Helwani. The strawweight champion shed lights take on the sudden meet. She also shared her take on the then-upcoming fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov.

 

Oh, yes! I have been watching his training and his fights for a long time. But that was the first time I met him in person. And I think he is a great fighter and also Khabib is awesome. So, I think there fight will be awesome. They are both legends,” said Zhang via her translator.

Helwani proceeded to ask her if Zhang actually asked for that gift from Ferguson, as the former interim lightweight champion just gave it to her. “He just gave it to me. I didn’t ask,” she answered.

SHENZHEN, CHINA – AUGUST 31: Zhang Weili of China celebrates after her knockout victory over Jessica Andrade of Brazil in their UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on August 31, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

She was further asked if that gift from Ferguson carried any special significance to her. “Yeah, definitely. Because Tony Ferguson carries his ball everywhere. So, it’s been with him for years. I am so happy he gave it to me,” Zhang answered.

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Whether ‘Magnum‘ can overcome the challenges of a seasoned opponent like Namajunas remains to be seen. ‘El Cucuy‘, on the other hand, returns next month at UFC 262 against Beneil Dariush. If the master and his apprentice both pass their tests with flying colors, will be known soon.

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Apratim Banerjee

730 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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