UFC Strawweight Champion Zhang Weili could make her return on April 24th, as plans are forming for her to fight Rose Namajunas at UFC 261. News of the potential title fight was first reported by Ariel Helwani of ESPN.
Should the fight be confirmed, it will join a lineup that does not have a confirmed location at the moment.
The bout would see Zhang make her return to action after over a year outside of action. The 31-year-old fighter defended her belt for the first time in February of 2020, putting on a five-round war against Joanna Jedrzejczyk that was given “Fight of the Year” awards by numerous publications.
Zhang claimed her 115-pound belt back in 2019, dethroning former champ Jessica Andrade within a round.
Namajunas, a former champ in her own right, would look to regain the belt and start her second reign. Namajunas first captured the belt in 2017, defeating Jedrzejczyk. After defending the belt once in a rematch with Jedrzejczyk, Namajunas dropped the belt to Andrade.
Namajunas made her return to the cage in July, defeating Andrade in a rematch. The split decision victory solidified Namajunas as one of the top contenders in the division.
While the strawweight bout is not official, here is how UFC 261 would look if it is made official.
Bout 5: Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) vs. Jessica Andrade (21-8) (UFC Flyweight Championship)
Bout 4: Zhang Weili (21-1) vs. Rose Namajunas (9-4) (UFC Strawweight Championship)
Bout 3: Chris Weidman (15-5) vs. Uriah Hall (16-9) (Middleweight)
Bout 2: Anthony Smith (34-16) vs. Jimmy Crute (12-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 1: Danaa Batgerel (8-2) vs. Kevin Natividad (9-2) (Bantamweight)