UFC president, Dana White has branded this weekend’s strawweight rematch between former division champions, Zhang Weili, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk a definite title-eliminator – with the victor sealed to land a championship challenge against Carla Esparza ahead of UFC 275 in Singapore.
Rematching following the consensus 2020 Fight of the Year and the greatest fight in the history of the strawweight division, former champion, Weili looks to improve to 2-0 against Jedrzejczyk, whom she managed to land a split decision win over at UFC 248 to retain her title.
In the time since, however, the Hebei native suffered back-to-back losses to former champion, Rose Namajunas, akin to Joanna Jedrzejczyk – the first a blistering high-kick knockout, before a November unanimous decision loss at UFC 268 in Madison Square Garden.
As for Olsztyn native, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the Muay Thai striker last recorded a unanimous decision win over former Invicta FC atomweight champion, Michelle Waterson in late 2019, earning her title challenge against Weili.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk or Zhang Weili will leapfrog Marina Rodriguez per Dana White
Despite the recent and continued rise of Brazilian striking standout, Marina Rodriguez – who landed a unanimous decision win over Yan Xiaonan at UFC 272 back in March, UFC head honcho, White has confirmed either Weili or Jedrzejczyk with challenge for strawweight gold against Esparza next.
“This would definitely be that whoever wins this, will definitely fight (Carla) Esparza for the title,” Dana White told The Underground reporter, John Morgan.
Commenting on the status of Rodriguez’s title charge, White claimed that the Rio Grande do Sul native was “right there” in terms of a title tilt of her own, but maintained that timing on key on when to pull the proverbial trigger.
“She’s (Marina Rodriguez) right there,” Dana White said. “These things happen. Timing is everything.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)
Esparza managed to begin her second reign as UFC strawweight champion back in May against rhe aforenoted, Namajunas – securing her second career win over the ONX Labs trainee to boot with a less than eventual split decision win in the co-main event of UFC 274