Zhang Weili eyeing two-division championship with superfight against Valentina Shevchenko - Reports

Zhang Weili is eyeing a cross-division superfight against flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.

‘Magnum’ recently reclaimed her UFC strawweight title with a dominant second-round submission win over Carla Esparza at UFC 281.

Brazilian veteran Amanda Lemos, currently ranked No.3 on the strawweight ladder, should ideally be next in line for a shot at Weili’s title.

However, the Chinese standout is also plotting a superfight against Shevchenko in a bid to become a double champion. She recently told Hong Kong-based outlet China Daily:

“I think it would be a great fight. It’s one I’ve considered before. She is a very versatile fighter with a complete package. I hope it can be arranged whenever UFC sees fit.” h/t PressReader.com

While Weili is hoping to fight new opponents, she is also expecting a third clash against former champion Rose Namajunas, who she has already lost to twice. ‘Magnum’ lost her strap to Namajunas via a head-kick KO in April last year and went on to drop a split decision in a rematch.

The 33-year bounced back with a spinning backfist KO win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk, which earned her a title shot.

Zhang Weili draws inspiration from Khabib Nurmagomedov, Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Zhang Weili was primarily known for her lethal striking game when she won the title against Jessica Andrade back in 2019. ‘Magnum’s barnburner against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first title defense remains one of the greatest fights in women’s MMA history.

Weili showed a different aspect of her game in her recent submission win over Carla Esparza. While her game has developed leaps and bounds, ‘Magnum’ wants to keep learning. Drawing inspiration from her peers, she wants to incorporate Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ground control, Carla Esparza’s grappling and Jedrzejczyk’s distance management into her arsenal. Weili further told China Daily:

“For example, the ground control of Khabib [Nurmagomedov], the grappling of Carla [Esparza] and the striking range of Joanna [Jedrzejczyk]… I’d like to take them all if possible.”

Born and raised in North China’s Hebei province, Zhang Weili also wants to inculcate traditional Chinese martial arts in her game. ‘Magnum’ particularly mentioned Tong bei quan, which originated in Hebei and is known for the use of swinging arms to engage opponents from maximum distance.

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