Former women’s UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili feels that the Anti-Communism remarks made by Rose Namajunas leading up to their first fight at UFC 261 are the reason why fans didn’t support Weili that night. In the lead-up to their title fight at UFC 261 this past April, Rose Namajunas used the phrase “better dead than red,” an anti-communist slogan that originated during the Cold War in the 1950s. As Weili Zhang belongs from a communist country, China she feels that these comments turned the fans against her. The fight was expected to be a back and forth battle but instead Rose Namajunas knocked out Zhang Weili in the very first round. Now before their rematch takes place at UFC 268, Zhang Weili talks about the things that happened before their first fight.
Zhang Weili talks about her first fight with Rose
“I think it definitely affected me a little bit,” Zhang said on “The MMA Hour.” “The comments that Rose made, I think she was successful in making the audience boo me. But I think that’s my own problem because I should be concentrating on the fight and not the audience. I can’t control who the audience likes. So I’m becoming more focused on my own fight.”
She continued, “In my mind, I think that, yes, those comments crossed the line because I think all the audience, all the fighters, we all come together in the UFC because we all share the passion of the MMA sport. In my mind, I’m coming here because I want to make friends because we all have a common love of martial arts. I think it’s not a good thing to mix sport with politics, but I think that’s maybe her plan. So in the beginning, I thought it was just kind of trash talk. It really didn’t affect me. But when I went out in the stadium and got booed, I think Rose wanted to use those comments to make the audience boo me.
Now the rematch between these two women is set to take place in MSG in New York. Zhang Weili feels she might be able to turn things around in this rematch.
“I have been to New York City once, but I’ve never been to Madison Square Garden,” Weili said. “I’m very much looking forward to the fight, and I’m also expecting there will be some Chinese audience that will want to go to cheer me. But I also adjusted my mentality. Even if the audience boos me, I will just think they like me.”
- Zhang Weili says Rose Namajunas turned the audience against her
- Zhang Weili says she will have good support at MSG
- Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas will take place at the Madison Square Garden in the co-main event of UFC 268 on November 7
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