The First Chinese UFC Champion is a Kung Fu Woman | Kung Fu in UFC

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UFC Champion uses Kung Fu

Zhang Weili is a Chinese mixed martial artist who competes in the strawweight division of the UFC. Former KLF (Kunlun Fight) strawweight champion, she is a current two times UFC Women's strawweight Champion.

She's considered a national pride since she's the very first Chinese to ever have won the Championship in UFC's history.

Zhang Weili UFC Champion

Born in Handan, Hebei, China in 1989, Zhang grew up passionate about martial arts. In fact, she started training in Shaolin Kung Fu at the very young age of 6, as e consequence of being inspired by Kung Fu movies.

This way, at the age of 12 she was sent by her parents to a specialized martial arts school in Handan where she trained Sanda and Shuai Jiao. After winning the provincial championships multiple times she was selected as part of the Jiangsu Province Sanda team.

Unfortunately, Zhang had to leave the team as a result of a back injury due to the training.

Zhang Weili  with her trainer

At the age of 17, she moved to Beijing where the beginning wasn't the easiest. After having multiple smaller jobs, she was finally able to find a job in a gym as a fitness instructor where she could use the gym equipment for free. During this period she also attended Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu too, inspired by the grappling that she has seen.

Not very long after she switched to a front desk position thanks to which she was able to get in touch with the fighters who attended the gym. The connections that she has built led her to be discovered by the coach Cai Xuejun who introduced her to the world of MMA.

Weili Zhang at the Bruce Lee memorial

Zhang is notoriously a huge fan of Bruce Lee and Donnie Yen who, she says, was her introduction to MMA through the movie Flashpoint. Among her idols, there's also Ronda Rousey.

Thanks to the inspiration and motivation that her idols kept giving her, she quit her job to fully dedicate herself to the new phase of her life that MMA represents. She holds an incredible record of 21-1.

UFC Champion uses Kung Fu

The strawweight champion comes from a Kung Fu background and it couldn't be otherwise. In fact, Handan, her hometown, is deeply steeped in Kung Fu history and teachings.

Having practiced the Chinese traditional arts, Zhang mentioned how the skills gained through traditional martial arts, helped her with the modern ones. Among the skills, she mentions mainly her balance and ability to read an opponent.

few scrolls through her social accounts and you can easily observe how her MMA content is elegantly here and there characterized by interesting Kung Fu training.

"I started when I was very young and so the kung fu background also meant I could adapt very quickly to new skills. I was quicker than others because I had already learned so much."

In fact, when Zhang turned up at the gym in Beijing, she already had all the basics and foundations necessary to transition to MMA smoothly and quickly. Her new and old skills colliding together in a unique combination crafted an incredible UFC Champion, that uses Kung Fu.

Weili Zhang

"She adapted those skills to MMA quickly and also she has a great fight IQ. She turns the tables on her feet. She has that skill where she can figure her way around a fighter midstream. Not many fighters have that skill."

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Roger Lowe
2022-12-28 21:53:37
Wing Chun Kung Fu EU
2022-12-28 21:53:37
Yes, she's an absolute beast :)

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