Weili Zhang on Valentina Shevchenko: 'If you want to be the best, you have to fight the best'

ABU DHABI – Newly crowned women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang has received quite a bit of flack for calling out flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.

But there’s a reason for that. She said she wants to compete against the best, and thinks “Bullet” is one of the top fighters.

“I really want to fight Valentina because I think Valentina is one of the best,” Zhang told MMA Junkie and other reporters through a translator Saturday at UFC 242. “If you want to be the best, you have to fight the best. I think it will be a very exciting fight for the fans and I believe one day we will meet, but before that I wish Valentina all the best of luck and health.”

With former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas taking some time off and top contender Tatiana Suarez sidelined due to an injury, all eyes are on the upcoming fight between former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson at UFC on ESPN+ 19.

It could very well serve as a No. 1 contender fight, but Zhang (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) thinks it will depend on what they’re able to show come fight night.

“Could be (for the next title shot) – doesn’t matter,” Zhang said. “It depends how they perform in their fight. Joanna is a very good striker. She has very fast hand speed. But right now, she’s not as good as she was when she was champion. This fight could go either way. Both fighters are great fighters, but I think Joanna takes this one. I’m good friends with Michelle Waterson. I hope she gets it done. If she has the right game plan, she can win.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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