Weili Zhang and Her Troublesome Journey During the Pandemic

Published 04/22/2021, 11:05 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 07: Zhang Weili of China prepares to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland in their UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 248 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Weili Zhang is all set to face Rose Namajunas at the UFC 261 co-main event. This will be Zhang’s second title defense fight in the UFC. ‘Magnum’ won the UFC women’s strawweight championship when she defeated Jessica Andrade at the UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Zhang.

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As a result of her win, she went 20-0 since losing her first professional fight against Meng Bo in 2013. Subsequently, she retained her belt after a brutal war against one of the greatest UFC fighters, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

This fight took place when the world was being shaken by the coronavirus pandemic, and therefore, traveling from China to Vegas proved difficult for the champion.

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The entire world was going through a tough time then, and people were stuck in various parts of the world. Zhang had to move out of China at brief notice as flights going to and from China were canceled because of the coronavirus. She immediately moved to Thailand, but her difficulties didn’t end there as just after a few days, she was advised to move again.

How was Weili Zhang’s stay in Abu Dhabi?

Finally, Zhang had to move to and train in Abu Dhabi for around 12 days. Zhang did not have any idea what she would do in a new country. Fortunately, two of the fighter’s coaches helped her and found her a gym she could train in. It was a very difficult phase for ‘Magnum’ but the fighter powered through.

SHENZHEN, CHINA – AUGUST 31: Zhang Weili of China prepares to fight 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)

It really upset Zhang that she was stuck in Abu Dhabi. She even called her mother and talked about how upset she was. Zhang’s mother really gave her some strength as she told Zhang about how people were fighting the virus in China, and she shouldn’t complain just because she had to travel around. ‘Magnum’ talks about how her mother gave her confidence as she talked about the doctors and nurses who weren’t even getting enough sleep.

Also Read: ‘That Was a War’- Dana White Reveals the Aftermath of Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk

How did Weili Zhang reach Las Vegas and defend her title?

After Zhang talked about her difficulties, many people came out to support her. The UFC and Zhang’s personal team were working together to make sure Zhang could reach for the fight in time.

And Finally, on February 19, 2020, Zhang was granted the visa, and soon after she reached the U.S. and took to Instagram to post about her arrival.

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“We made it to America. We are ready. Always ready. See you soon, Las Vegas.”

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The Coronavirus pandemic made life difficult for everyone, and Zhang was no exception. She eventually reached Vegas despite all difficulties and faced Joanna Jedrzejczyk, giving fans a fight that no one will ever forget.

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Paras Pande

557 articles

Paras Pande is a UFC author at EssentiallySports who is pursuing his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication. An ardent follower of the UFC, he has been covering the sport for 2 years now. Before joining the team at EssentiallySports, Paras gained expertise as an MMA writer whilst working with Sportskeeda.

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