Zhang Weili

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Zhang Weili
Zhang in 2022
(1989-08-13) August 13, 1989 (age 33)
Handan, Hebei, China[1]
Other namesMagnum
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Weight115 lb (52 kg; 8.2 st)
Reach63 in (160 cm)[2]
StyleSanda, Kickboxing
Fighting out ofBeijing, China
TeamBlack Tiger Fight Club
Fight Ready[3]
Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA[4][5]
TrainerXuejun Cai (MMA)[6]
Pedro Jordão (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)[7]
Chong Xie (Fascia Trainer)[8]
RankBrown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Pedro Jordão [7]
Years active2013–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout11
By submission8
By decision4
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 the current and two-time UFC Women's Strawweight Champion. She is the first ever Chinese champion in UFC history.[9] As of March 7, 2023, she is ranked #4 in the UFC women's pound-for-pound rankings.[10][11]


Zhang was born in Handan, Hebei, China. Her father is a retired miner, 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.[12]

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.[13][12][14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[15][16] 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, 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.[6][17][14]

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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] She won the fight via TKO in the second round.[21]

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.[22]

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.[20]

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.[23]

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.[20]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Zhang made her promotion debut on August 4, 2018, at UFC 227 against Danielle Taylor.[24] She won the fight via unanimous decision.[25]

On November 24, 2018, Zhang faced Jessica Aguilar at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Ngannou 2.[26] She won the fight via a submission in round one.[27]

Zhang faced Tecia Torres on March 3, 2019, at UFC 235.[28] She won the fight via unanimous decision.[29]

UFC Strawweight Champion[edit]

Zhang faced Jéssica Andrade for the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship on August 31, 2019, at UFC Fight Night 157.[30] She won the fight via first-round technical knockout to become the new strawweight champion.[31] The win also earned Zhang her first Performance of the Night bonus award.[32]

In the first defense of her title, Zhang faced former strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk on March 7, 2020, at UFC 248.[33] Zhang moved her training camp from China to Thailand and later moved to Dubai due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[34] 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.[35] After multiple failed attempts to obtain a US visa to fight in UFC's events in the US,[36] on February 19, 2020, Zhang was granted US visa to fight at UFC 248.[37] Zhang won the back–and–forth fight via split decision, which marked her first successful title defense.[38] This win also marked her first Fight of the Night award.[39] This bout was considered by many pundits as the greatest fight in women's MMA history.[40][41][42]

In the second defense of her title, Zhang faced former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas on April 24, 2021, at UFC 261.[43] She lost the fight by knockout early in the first round after getting caught with a head kick.[44]

Post title reign and second title shot[edit]

A rematch between Zhang and Namajunas for the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship took place on November 6, 2021 at UFC 268.[45] After a back and forth bout, Weili lost the fight via split decision.[46] 14 out of 22 media scores gave it to Namajunas.[47]

A rematch between Zhang and Joanna Jędrzejczyk took place on June 11, 2022 at UFC 275.[48] For this fight Zhang trained at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA gym in Thailand and worked with Josh Hinger.[4] Zhang won the fight via knockout with a spinning backfist in the second round.[4][49][7] This win earned her the Performance of the Night award[50] and the Crypto.com "Fan Bonus of the Night" awards paid in bitcoin of US$10,000 for third place.[51]

Weili faced reigning champion Carla Esparza for the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship on November 12, 2022, at UFC 281.[52] Zhang won the bout and regained the championship by the way of a rear-naked choke submission in the second round.[7][53] This win earned her the Performance of the Night award.[54] Zhang was promoted to Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu following her win.[7]

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.[55][56][57] In the same year, she appeared in a commercial for Audi.[58] In 2021, she was named a global ambassador for recovery technology company Hyperice.[59] She also had endorsement deals with clothing brands Under Armour and Heilan Home, e-commerce company JingDong and alcoholic beverage company Wusu Beer.[60][61]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
26 matches 23 wins 3 losses
By knockout 11 1
By submission 8 0
By decision 4 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 23–3 Carla Esparza Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 281 November 12, 2022 2 1:05 New York City, New York, United States Won the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship. Performance of the Night.
Win 22–3 Joanna Jędrzejczyk KO (spinning backfist) UFC 275 June 11, 2022 2 2:28 Kallang, Singapore Performance of the Night.
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 Qian'an, China Catchweight (132 lb) bout.
Win 1–1 Shuxia Wu Submission (armbar) Chinese Kung Fu Championships April 17, 2014 1 1:56 Qian'an, 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.


Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing record
2 Wins (0 KOs), 2 Losses, 0 Draws
Date Result Opponent Event Location Method Round Time
2017-12-17 Loss China Guan Acui Kunlun Fight 68 Zunyi, China Decision 3 3:00
KLF Female 52.5 kg Tournament Final.[82]
2017-12-17 Win China Chang Ningning Kunlun Fight 68 Zunyi, China Decision 3 3:00
KLF Female 52.5 kg Tournament Semi-Finals.
2017-12-17 Win Australia Alma Juniku Kunlun Fight 68 Zunyi, China Decision 3 3:00
KLF Female 52.5 kg Tournament Quafter-Finals.
2013-12-14 Loss Japan Satoko Sasaki Krush 35 Tokyo, Japan Decision (Unanimous) 3 3:00
Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes


See also[edit]


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  6. ^ a b "EXCLUSIVE | Weili Zhang: Remember the name". www.bjpenn.com. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  7. ^ a b c d e Burne, Kathrine (2 January 2023). "UFC World Champion Zhang Weili Promoted To BJJ Brown Belt". Jitsmagazine.com.
  8. ^ "Unlocking Optimal Performance and Recovery with Coach Chong Xie's Fascia-Centric Method". The Kerplunk. 27 March 2023.
  9. ^ "Zhang Weili named China's first UFC champion after defeating Jessica Andrade in just 42 seconds". CNN. 31 August 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "UFC Rankings, Division Rankings, P4P rankings, UFC Champions | UFC.com". www.ufc.com. Retrieved 2023-03-07.
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  58. ^ "张伟丽:做更强大的自己,签约奥迪汽车巨额商业代言" (in Chinese).
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External links[edit]

Preceded by UFC Women's Strawweight Champion
November 12, 2022 – Present