UFC women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili made history as the first Chinese champion in UFC history. On Saturday, March 7, Zhang will make her first title defense when she takes on former 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event of UFC 248 in Las Vegas.
While Zhang has been focused on her training, there have been difficulties with the ongoing coronavirus concerns after the outbreak began in Wuhan, China.
Zhang recently sat down with the media to discuss her preparations for the bout and how the coronavirus pandemic impacted her training. Coronavirus threats led to the champion moving her training camp multiple times.
“I had to travel almost all around the world. I went to Bangkok (Thailand), Abu Dhabi and now here in (Las) Vegas,” Zhang said through an interpreter, via DAZN. “It was hard dealing with the time zones and the different climates. It was really difficult for me. Now, everything is fine, and I’m ready for the fight. There’s been so much traveling that it was giving me a hard time adjusting to the changing climate and jetlag. The first time was in Bangkok. Then I had to move from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi, where it’s colder with a three hour time difference and the weather is much drier. Then I had to fly about 24 hours with a layover from Abu Dhabi to the U.S. where we have a five-hour time difference.
“I usually will get over jet lag over in two, three days. This time it took me about a week to really get back into things so it was really challenging for my team and me. But it was worth it because I got to roll at different gyms and met different people. I learned a lot of new concepts and techniques from all those great martial artists around the world. So not bad.
“This is going to be big for me and also for my country because we are combating the coronavirus. If I win this fight and retain my title, it’s going to be a huge motivation to those people in China who are combating this outbreak on the front lines. I think it’s going to be big.”
We will have to see how the constant travel ultimately impacts Zhang when she steps inside of the cage.
UFC 248 takes place on Saturday, March 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defends his belt against Yoel Romero.
UFC 248: Fight Time & Viewing Details
Event: UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero
Date: Saturday, March 7
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Venue: T-Mobile Arena
Main Card Card Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Broadcast: Pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+
UFC 248 Fight Card
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10:00 p.m. ET)
- Champ Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero – for middleweight title
- Champ Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – for strawweight title
- Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose
- Li Jingliang vs. Neil Magny
- Max Griffin vs. Alex Oliveira
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN/ESPN+, 8:00 p.m. ET)
- Sean O’Malley vs. Jose Quinonez
- Austin Hubbard vs. Mark Madsen
- Saparbek Safarov vs. Rodolfo Vieira
- Gerald Meerschaert vs. Deron Winn
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN/ESPN+, 6:15 p.m. ET)
- Polyana Viana vs. Emily Whitmire
- Giga Chikadze vs. Jamall Emmers
- Danaa Batgerel vs. Guido Cannetti