Zhang Weili

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Zhang Weili
Born张伟丽
(1989-08-13) August 13, 1989 (age 32)
Handan, Hebei, China[1]
Other namesMagnum
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[2]
Weight115 lb (52 kg; 8.2 st)
DivisionStrawweight
Reach63 in (160 cm)[3]
Fighting out ofBeijing, China
TeamBlack Tiger Fight Club
TrainerXuejun Cai (MMA)[4]
Pedro Jordão (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)[5]
RankPurple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[1] under Pedro Jordão[5]
Years active2013–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total24
Wins21
By knockout10
By submission7
By decision4
Losses3
By knockout1
By decision2
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Zhang Weili (Chinese: 张伟丽; pinyin: Zhāng Wěilì; born August 13, 1989) is a Chinese mixed martial artist. She is the former Kunlun Fight (KLF) strawweight champion and competes in the strawweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where she is a former UFC Women's Strawweight World Champion. She is the first ever Chinese and East Asian champion in UFC history.[6] As of April 26, 2021, she is #1 UFC women's strawweight rankings and she is #4 in UFC women's pound-for-pound rankings.[7]

Background[edit]

Zhang was born in Handan, Hebei, China. Her father is a retired mine digger, and her mother is a housewife. She has one older brother, who quit his job as a gold trader to support Zhang's career, and now works at the gym where she trains.[8]

She started training in martial arts at a young age, beginning at 6 with Shaolin Kung Fu under the tutelage of a local master, after she was inspired by Kung Fu films.[9][8][10] In primary school, she practiced many sports including athletics, football and table tennis. When she was 12, her parents sent her to a specialized martial arts school in Handan where she began training in Sanda and a Chinese style of wrestling called Shuai Jiao.[11] After winning Sanda championships of the Hebei province multiple times, she was selected for the Jiangsu province Sanda team, however a recurring back injury sustained in training forced her to quit the sport early.[12]

At the age of 17 she moved to Beijing, where she worked various odd jobs: cashier at a supermarket, kindergarten teacher, security guard and hotel desk clerk.[11][12] In 2010 she found a job at a local Beijing gym as a fitness instructor, and was allowed to use their equipment for free after the gym closed in the evenings. During that time she would also pick up Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) after watching others grappling there. She later switched to a front desk job, through which she got to know fighters who trained at the gym, one of them being her idol Wu Haotian, a pioneer of Chinese MMA. After they became acquainted in 2012, Haotian brought her to Black Tiger Fight Club. There, she was noticed by coach Cai Xuejun, who recognized her potential and started training her in MMA.[4][13][10]

In a Chinese television show in December 2019, she mentioned that Hong Kong Action Superstar Donnie Yen was her inspiration to compete in MMA, and that Donnie Yen's 2007 feature film Flashpoint was her first introduction to the sport of MMA.[14] She also credited Ronda Rousey, and particularly her fight with Liz Carmouche in 2013, as giving her the motivation to quit her job and pursue MMA full-time.[15]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Zhang made her professional MMA debut in 2013. After losing her professional debut to Meng Bo by unanimous decision, she would go on to win 11 straight fights before challenging Simone Duarte for the Kunlun Fight Female Strawweight Championship on May 25, 2017, at Kunlun Fight MMA 11.[2] She won the fight via TKO in the second round.[16]

Zhang made her first title defense against Aline Sattelmayer on June 1, 2017, at Kunlun Fight MMA 12. She won the fight by unanimous decision.[17]

On July 22, 2017, Zhang attempted to win a second title, when she challenged Seo Ye-dam (서예담) for the vacant Top FC Strawweight Championship at TOP FC 15. She won the fight via TKO in the second round to capture the title.[2]

In her next bout, Zhang made her second KLF title defense on August 28, 2017, at Kunlun Fight MMA 14 against Marilia Santos. She won the fight via TKO in the second round.[18]

Zhang would fight one more time for KLF, amassing a record of 16-1 and improving her winning streak to 16 before signing with the UFC.[2]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Zhang made her promotion debut on August 4, 2018, at UFC 227 against Danielle Taylor.[19] She won the fight via unanimous decision.[20]

On November 24, 2018, Zhang faced Jessica Aguilar at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Ngannou 2.[21] She won the fight via a submission in round one.[22]

Zhang faced Tecia Torres on March 3, 2019, at UFC 235.[23] She won the fight via unanimous decision.[24]

UFC Strawweight Champion[edit]

Zhang faced Jéssica Andrade for the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship on August 31, 2019, at UFC on ESPN+ 15.[25] She won the fight via first-round technical knockout to become the new Strawweight champion.[26] The win also earned Zhang her first Performance of the Night bonus award.[27]

In the first defense of her title, Zhang was scheduled to face former UFC Strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk on March 7, 2020, at UFC 248.[28] Zhang moved her training camp from China to Thailand and later moved to Dubai due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[29] as TSA rules stated a two-week quarantine was imposed for any non-US citizen be granted entry to the United States if they had recently been in China.[30] After multiple failed attempts to obtain a US visa to fight in UFC's events in the US,[31] on February 19, 2020, Zhang was granted US visa to fight at UFC 248.[32] Zhang won the back–and–forth fight via split decision, which marked her first successful UFC Strawweight title defense.[33] This win also marked her first Fight of the Night award.[34] This bout was considered by many pundits as the greatest fight in women's MMA history.[35][36][37]

In the second defense of her title, Zhang faced Rose Namajunas on April 24, 2021, at UFC 261.[38] She lost the fight by knockout early in the first round after getting caught with a head kick.[39]

A rematch between Zhang and Namajunas for UFC Women's Strawweight Championship took place on November 6, 2021 at UFC 268.[40] After a back and forth bout, Weili lost the bout via split decision.[41] 14 out of 22 media scores gave it to Namajunas.[42]

Other ventures[edit]

In May 2020, it was announced that Zhang became a brand ambassador for cosmetics brand Estée Lauder in China, and was chosen as a face of their new makeup line Double Wear.[43][44][45] In the same year, she appeared in a commercial for Audi.[46] In 2021, she was named a global ambassador for recovery technology company Hyperice.[47] She also had endorsement deals with clothing brands Under Armour and Heilan Home, e-commerce company JingDong and alcoholic beverage company Wusu Beer.[48][49]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
24 matches 21 wins 3 losses
By knockout 10 1
By submission 7 0
By decision 4 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 21–3 Rose Namajunas Decision (split) UFC 268 November 6, 2021 5 5:00 New York City, New York, United States For the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship.
Loss 21–2 Rose Namajunas KO (head kick) UFC 261 April 24, 2021 1 1:18 Jacksonville, Florida, United States Lost the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship.
Win 21–1 Joanna Jędrzejczyk Decision (split) UFC 248 March 7, 2020 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship. Fight of the Night.
Win 20–1 Jéssica Andrade TKO (knees and punches) UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Zhang August 31, 2019 1 0:42 Shenzhen, China Won the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship. Performance of the Night.
Win 19–1 Tecia Torres Decision (unanimous) UFC 235 March 2, 2019 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 18–1 Jessica Aguilar Submission (armbar) UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Ngannou 2 November 24, 2018 1 3:41 Beijing, China
Win 17–1 Danielle Taylor Decision (unanimous) UFC 227 August 4, 2018 3 5:00 Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 16–1 Bianca Sattelmayer Submission (armbar) Kunlun Fight MMA 15 October 3, 2017 1 3:29 Seoul, South Korea Catchweight (119 lb) bout.
Win 15–1 Marilia Santos TKO (elbows) Kunlun Fight MMA 14 August 28, 2017 2 3:20 Yantai, China Defended the Kunlun Fight Strawweight Championship.
Win 14–1 Ye Dam Seo TKO (elbow and punches) Top FC 15 July 22, 2017 2 1:35 Seoul, South Korea Won the vacant Top FC Strawweight Championship.
Win 13–1 Aline Sattelmayer Decision (unanimous) Kunlun Fight MMA 12 June 1, 2017 3 5:00 Yantai, China Defended the Kunlun Fight Strawweight Championship.
Win 12–1 Simone Duarte TKO (punches) Kunlun Fight MMA 11 May 25, 2017 1 2:29 Jining, China Won the Kunlun Fight Strawweight Championship.
Win 11–1 Nayara Hemily Submission (guillotine choke) Kunlun Fight MMA 9 February 25, 2017 1 0:41 Sanya, China
Win 10–1 Veronica Grenno TKO (knees to the body) Kunlun Fight MMA 8 January 2, 2017 1 1:50 Sanya, China
Win 9–1 Karla Benitez KO (punch) Kunlun Fight MMA 7 December 15, 2016 1 2:15 Beijing, China Defended the Kunlun Fight Strawweight Championship.
Win 8–1 Maíra Mazar Submission (rear-naked choke) Kunlun Fight 53 September 24, 2016 1 4:11 Beijing, China Won the vacant Kunlun Fight Strawweight Championship.
Win 7–1 Emi Fujino TKO (doctor stoppage) Kunlun Fight 49 August 7, 2016 2 2:51 Tokyo, Japan Return to Strawweight.
Win 6–1 Liliya Kazak KO (head kick) Kunlun Fight 47 July 10, 2016 2 4:13 Nanjing, China
Win 5–1 Alice Ardelean Submission (rear-naked choke) Kunlun Fight MMA 5 / Top FC 11 May 22, 2016 2 4:41 Seoul, South Korea Flyweight debut.
Win 4–1 Svetlana Gotsyk TKO (punches) Kunlun Fight 38 / Super Muaythai 2016 February 21, 2016 2 2:29 Pattaya, Thailand
Win 3–1 Samantha Jean-Francois TKO (punches) Kunlun Fight 35 December 19, 2015 1 3:37 Luoyang, China
Win 2–1 Mei Huang Submission (rear-naked choke) Chinese Kung Fu Championships October 27, 2014 1 0:40 China Catchweight (132 lb) bout.
Win 1–1 Shuxia Wu Submission (armbar) Chinese Kung Fu Championships April 17, 2014 1 1:56 China Catchweight (132 lb) bout.
Loss 0–1 Meng Bo Decision (unanimous) China MMA League November 9, 2013 2 5:00 Xuchang, China Strawweight debut.

[2]

Kickboxing record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
4 matches 2 wins 2 losses
By decision 2 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 2–2 China Guan Acui Decision Kunlun Fight 68 December 17, 2017 3 3:00 China Zunyi, China Tournament final.[64]
Win 2–1 China Chang Ningning Decision Kunlun Fight 68 December 17, 2017 3 3:00 China Zunyi, China Tournament semifinal.
Win 1–1 Australia Alma Juniku Decision Kunlun Fight 68 December 17, 2017 3 3:00 China Zunyi, China Tournament quarterfinal.
Loss 0–1 Japan Satoko Sasaki Decision (Unanimous) Krush 35 December 14, 2013 3 3:00 Japan Tokyo, Japan

[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Zhang Weili | UFC". UFC.com. 14 September 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Weili Zhang". Sherdog. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  3. ^ "Weili Zhang | UFC". www.ufc.com. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  4. ^ a b "EXCLUSIVE | Weili Zhang: Remember the name". www.bjpenn.com. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  5. ^ a b Guilherme Cruz (September 2, 2019). "Coach expects long reign for Weili Zhang after impressive UFC title win". mmafighting.com.
  6. ^ "Zhang Weili named China's first UFC champion after defeating Jessica Andrade in just 42 seconds". CNN. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  7. ^ "Rankings | UFC". www.ufc.com. Retrieved 2021-04-26.
  8. ^ a b "Five (Of the many) things you didn't know about the UFC's Zhang Weili". 28 August 2019.
  9. ^ "A Zhang Weili interview on Youtube". Mu Shin Martial Culture. 2019-12-22. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
  10. ^ a b "人物|张伟丽:走上国际赛场的"格斗女孩"_河北新闻网". Archived from the original on 2019-04-04.
  11. ^ a b "Zhang Weili's long and difficult road to MMA stardom". China Daily. 2020-03-12. Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  12. ^ a b Qin, Amy; Chien, Amy Chang (23 April 2021). "China's Top Mixed Martial Arts Star Isn't Fighting for a Cause". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Interview: Kang Kyung Ho, Zhang Weili talk about fighting at UFC 227". MMA India. 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  14. ^ "China Variety TV Show - Roast! with Zhang Weili and Donnie Yen". Youtube. 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  15. ^ mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/03/zhang-weili-credits-ronda-rousey-motivation-chase-dreams-ufc-248-video/amp
  16. ^ a b "Kunlun Fight MMA 11 Results". www.fight-madness.com (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  17. ^ a b Aittama, Zach. "Kunlun Fight MMA 12 Results". Combat Press. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  18. ^ a b "张伟丽险被KO,遭对手连续重拳击中鼻血染红脸颊". www.sohu.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  19. ^ "Here are 4 new bouts added to UFC 227 at Staples Center". Press Enterprise. 2018-05-08. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  20. ^ "UFC 227 results: Weili Zhang wins 17th straight, outpoints gritty Danielle Taylor". MMAjunkie. 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  21. ^ "Jessica Aguilar to Face Weili Zhang at UFC Fight Night Beijing on Nov. 24". Sherdog. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  22. ^ "UFC Fight Night 141 play-by-play and live results". MMAjunkie. 2018-11-24. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  23. ^ Doyle, Dave (2018-11-29). "Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang set for UFC 235". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  24. ^ "UFC 235 results: Weili Zhang shuts down Tecia Torres for 19th straight win". MMA Junkie. 2019-03-03. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  25. ^ Redactie (2019-06-19). "Jessica Andrade defends title against Weili Zhang during UFC Shenzhen's Main Event". mmadna.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  26. ^ a b McClory, Mike (2019-08-31). "UFC Shenzhen Results: Weili Zhang Shocks With Quick TKO of Andrade, Becomes First Chinese UFC Champ". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  27. ^ a b "UFC on ESPN+ 15 bonuses: Weili Zhang, Li Jingliang get no-brainer $50,000 checks". mmajunkie.com. 2019-08-03. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  28. ^ Adam Hill (2019-12-13). "Strawweight champ Weili Zhang to fight at UFC 248 in Las Vegas". LasVegasReview-Journal.com. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  29. ^ "Sources: Zhang leaves China over virus concerns". ESPN.com. 2020-02-06. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  30. ^ "'Now I can put my heart into this': Chinese UFC fighter Zhang Weili obtains US visa". South China Morning Post. 2020-02-18. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  31. ^ Tabuena, Anton (2019-10-08). "UFC champ Weili Zhang's visa denied again, US presidential candidate offers help". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  32. ^ Cruz, Guilherme (2020-02-19). "Zhang Weili granted U.S. visa, Yan Xiaonan lands in Auckland for UFC fight". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  33. ^ "UFC 248 results: Zhang Weili defends title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in all-time classic". MMA Junkie. 2020-03-08. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  34. ^ a b Dan Hiergesell (2020-03-08). "UFC 248 Bonuses! O'Malley Banks $50K For 'Prelims' TKO". MMAmania. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  35. ^ Karri, Siri. "Zhang Weili edges Joanna Jedrzejczyk in one of the greatest fights of all time". thebodylockmma.com. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  36. ^ Lee, Alexander K. (2020-12-28). "MMA Fighting's 2020 Fight of the Year: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
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  38. ^ Sport, El Intra (2021-02-28). "¡Es oficial! Rose Namajunas irá por el título de Zhang Weili en el UFC 261". El Intra Sports (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  39. ^ Doherty, Dan (2021-04-24). "UFC 261 Results: Rose Namajunas Head Kicks, Upsets Weili Zhang". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2021-04-25.
  40. ^ "Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili 2 among latest additions to official UFC 268 card". MMA Junkie. 2021-08-29. Retrieved 2021-08-29.
  41. ^ Law, Eddie (2021-11-07). "UFC 268 Results: Rose Namajunas Retains Title, Beats Weili Zhang via Split Decision". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  42. ^ "Rose Namajunas def.  Weili Zhang :: UFC 268 :: MMA Decisions". www.mmadecisions.com. Retrieved 2021-11-07. no-break space character in |title= at position 5 (help)
  43. ^ "From MMA fighters to gold medalists, beauty embraces strong female athletes". 13 July 2020.
  44. ^ "Estee Lauder names boxer Zhang Weili brand ambassador for China". June 2020.
  45. ^ "MMA Champ Zhang Weili is Estée Lauder's New Face in China".
  46. ^ "张伟丽:做更强大的自己,签约奥迪汽车巨额商业代言".
  47. ^ "Hyperice Names Zhang Weili as Global Ambassador".
  48. ^ "China Sports Business Weekly | 26th June".
  49. ^ https://jiemian.com/article/4531497.html
  50. ^ Thomas Gerbasi (December 24, 2020). "The 2020 Awards: 10 Best Fights". Ultimate Fighting Championship.
  51. ^ "President's Choice". Ultimate Fighting Championship. 5 September 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  52. ^ "MMA Junkie's 'Fight of the Month' for March: A title fight for the ages". mmajunkie.com. March 31, 2020.
  53. ^ "MMA Junkie's 2020 'Fight of the Year': Weili vs. Jedrzejczyk, the GOAT of women's fights". MMAjunkie.com. January 4, 2021.
  54. ^ "Amanda Nunes, Israel Adesanya, Jorge Masvidal pace major winners at World MMA Awards". MMAjunkie.com. December 27, 2020.
  55. ^ Meltzer, Dave. "March 1, 2021, Wrestling Observer Newsletter 2020 awards issue, Elimination Chamber". Figure4Weekly. Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  56. ^ Alexander K. Lee (December 28, 2020). "MMA Fighting's 2020 Fight of the Year: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk". mmafighting.com.
  57. ^ Shaheen Al-Shatti (December 23, 2020). "Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk: 2020 MMA Fight of the Year". The Athletic.
  58. ^ Tom Taylor (December 21, 2020). "Bleacher Report 2020 MMA Awards: Best Fight". Bleacher Report.
  59. ^ Staff (December 29, 2020). "MMA 2020 Year in Review: Fight of the Year". Cageside Press.
  60. ^ Tristen Critchfield (December 28, 2020). "Sherdog's 2020 Fight of the Year". Sherdog.
  61. ^ @btsportufc (December 28, 2020). "🏆 Fight of the Year - Weili Zhang v Joanna Jedrzejczyk" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  62. ^ "MMAWeekly's Best of 2020". mmaweekly.com. January 1, 2021.
  63. ^ "Combat Press 2020 MMA Awards: Fight of the Year Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk". combatpress.com. January 2021.
  64. ^ "Kunlun Fight 68 Fight Card: Heavyweight and Mulan Legend Tournaments - LiverKick". 28 November 2017.

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by 5th UFC Women's Strawweight Champion
August 31, 2019 – April 24, 2021
Succeeded by