After defeating Tecia Torres at UFC 235, Weili Zhang revealed that her striking coach was unable to travel to Las Vegas with her, but the UFC Performance Institute provided the help she needed.
Las Vegas, NV — The UFC’s Performance Institute has been a boon for a lot of fighters. For one fighter on the UFC 235 card, however, it was a life saver. That would be Weili Zhang, the UFC strawweight who got the better of Tecia Torres Saturday night.
Now 3-0 in the UFC, and on a nineteen fight win streak, the paces has quickened for the Chinese fighter. “It’s been fast. I feel like I’m fighting back-to-back. Just so fast after three fights,” she said back stage in Las Vegas on Saturday, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.
She has her goals for what comes next, which includes the top ten of the division. “Definitely top ten. I’m only top ten now, but my final goal is to be the champion of this division. Being the champion is the dream of every fighter. It is the way that fighters can prove themselves. There is an old saying in Chinese, ‘The soldier who doesn’t want to be general is not a good soldier.'” Zhang then added, “I want to be a general.”
On her readiness to be champion, Zhang said that “I feel like anytime, just give me the chance because I’m prepared all the time.”
Preparation for UFC 235, however, came via the UFC PI, when Zhang’s striking coach was unable to make the trip to Las Vegas. “I trained at the UFC Performance Institute and that was such a great place with great facilities and everything, they will take care of you,” she said. “All you have to do is get there and train. It was a very good experience for me and I also made a lot of friends out there. I was really upset that my stand-up coach got rejected on his visa so he didn’t actually make it. So when we got to the PI we met a very good coach, Matthew Jolly, he helped me a lot and held pads for me. I appreciate him.”
While at the Performance Institute, Zhang was able to train with Olympic Athletes. “We are in a different field of sport. I look up at them and think, ‘They look so badass.’ It’s the same thing when they look at me, ‘I’m so badass.'”
“I’m willing to set an example for all female athletes and female fans to bring them into this sport,” she later added. “I want to extinguish the thought in their mind that MMA is violent. It’s not violent. So hopefully I can set a good example for the upcoming young fighters, especially female fighters.”
In the coming years, the UFC Performance Institute model will be rolled out to other nations, among them Mexico and China. Weili Zhang is hopeful that the Chinese edition, expected to be far larger than the one located in Las Vegas, will be a great benefit to Chinese martial artists. And those from abroad.
“Everybody knows they’re building a Performance Institute in Shanghai,” she said, “so I think that international fighters and fighters from China can learn a lot when they get there from kung-fu and other traditional Chinese martial arts. We have a lot of martial art combat principles that would help them a lot.”