Weili Zhang was knocked out by Rose Namajunas in UFC 261, but Zhang “felt aggrieved” by the stoppage, protesting to the referee that the bout had been stopped too soon.
Zhang struggled to come to terms with the result because of all the hard work she put into training to be eliminated within two minutes of the start of the first round.
The former UFC strawweight champion has explained what was going through her mind at the time of the knockout and admits the loss still stings to this day.
“Regarding the stoppage, when the referee pulled me away, I really couldn’t accept the fact,” Weili said during a live broadcast (h / t Doug Murray of MMA News). “I was not at all reconciled. I worked hard for a long time and trained really hard every day. And I brought a great team of mine to America, but the game ended so early. Deep down inside, I couldn’t accept this fact.
“It’s because I put so much effort into preparing for this fight, and it was very hard for me every day. But because of an error in judgment I made, I thought she was doing a low kick, and I had a defense for the low kick, but she did a kick high instead. And it was very sudden, very fast. And it’s not like we’ve done three rounds and she overpowered me, or even after one round if she overpowered me and I lost, then I would admit my skills weren’t as good. But this one is really … you know. I haven’t had the opportunity to show what I have. So I felt aggrieved.
Zhang was on an unprecedented 21-fight winning streak before her loss to Namajunas and believes she deserves an immediate rematch, but UFC president Dana White must also be thinking of Carla Esparza. The latter is on a five-game winning streak and recently argued for a title shot after a dominant TKO victory over Yan Xiaonan in UFC Vegas 27.
White acknowledges that he has a difficult decision to make in the future.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do next. If we do the rematch [with Zhang] or if we give it [Esparza]. “