Weili Zhang blames a lack of focus stemming from Chris Weidman’s devastating leg break against Uriah Hall for her knockout loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261, and ‘All-American’ thinks there might be some truth to it.
Weidman believes Zhang witnessing such a traumatic injury just minutes before her strawweight title defense against Namajunas would have undoubtedly impacted her focus in the fight.
Weidman revealed both he and Zhang shared the same locker room and believes he gave the former strawweight champion ‘bad juju’ with a friendly fist-bump prior to his fight against Hall.
“Yeah, I gave her the bad juju,” Weidman told Ariel Helwani in a recent interview (h/t MMAFighting). “I remember hanging out with her in the locker room and you know you’ve got to give people good energy and good vibes, I remember her giving the fist pound right before I went out and yeah, I mean listen that was a super traumatic moment for me and I think anybody who watched, people in the stands and stuff, people want to compare with Conor McGregor [at UFC 264]. His was kind of over time, it slowly happened and he stepped back and it broke. Mine was, we weren’t even sweating yet, there was no adrenaline going, I was fresh. It was the first strike of the fight, full force, everything I have, and it was traumatic I think for everybody to see it.”
With that said Weidman doesn’t want his comments to take anything away from Namajunas’ victory, who also went into the bout having just witnessed her friend break his leg in a freak injury.
“Listen, I think it would probably mess with anybody a little bit, but that being said, you don’t want to make excuses like that. I’m sure Rose—I’m friends with Rose, I love Rose—I’m sure she was upset when she saw me do that, but you’ve got to get right back to getting in your own head and being ready for your own fight.”
“Completely understandable, and I’m sure she’s being asked questions on why, and she’s just trying to figure out reasons on why she lost,” Weidman said. “A hundred percent that’s something that was in her head and something that she thought about. It wasn’t positive. You want positive vibes, you’re walking out, there’s a lot of negative thoughts you’re trying to deal with. To have to deal with something like that definitely sucks. It’s not like she’s lying saying that rattled her. I believe her 100 percent.”
Rose KO’d Zhang with a stunning head kick in the first round to reclaim the strawweight title and cement her legacy as one of the greatest female mixed martial artists of all time.
As for Weidman, the former UFC middleweight champion recently underwent a second surgery for his broken leg and is expected to be out of action for at least the next 6-12 months.
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