Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk put on one of the greatest fights in UFC history on March 6, 2020, in Las Vegas at UFC 248. More than two years later, they met again on the main card of UFC 275 in Singapore and put on another classic.
After a fast-paced first round in which Zhang’s wrestling controlled the battle, Zhang caught Jedrzejczyk with a spinning backfist during a flurry. Zhang’s forearm landed squarely on the side of Jedrzejczyk’s face and she did a face plant.
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Referee Marc Godard immediately called it at 2:28 of the second, giving Zhang the win and the next title shot at champion Carla Esparza. Jedrzejczyk, a former strawweight champion, removed her gloves and announced her retirement.
“She was such a huge part of the growth of women’s MMA and it was incredible to have her be a part of this company,” UFC president Dana White told Yahoo Sports. “We will all miss her!”
They came out quickly in Round 1 and were firing shots at each other. But unlike their first fight in which it was nearly entirely stand-up fighting, Zhang took the fight to the ground.
She got into mount and was dropping powerful elbows on Jedrzejczyk but Jedrzejczyk, like she’d shown throughout her career, kept battling and didn’t quit.
They immediately got after it again in the second. As they were in the midst of a wild exchange, Zhang missed a shot. As Jedrzejczyk loaded up to throw, Zhang spun and caught Jedrzejczyk on the side of the head to end it in stunning fashion.
“I was very, very calm and relaxed for this,” Zhang, another ex-champion, said in the Octagon after the win. “I knew i wasn’t fighting Joanna. I was fighting myself.”
It wasn’t such a happy finish for Jedrzejczyk, who said she didn’t expect Zhang to be as fast or as strong as she was.
Jedrzejczyk has lost two in a row and three of four and, at nearly 35, said it was time to move on to something else.
“I’m retired, guys,” she said, fighting back tears. “I love it so much. … DC, Dana, I’m so sorry I let you guys down.”