Zhang vs Jędrzejczyk - one of the pioneering moments for female fighters? | Awakening Fighters
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Zhang vs Jędrzejczyk – one of the pioneering moments for female fighters?

by Rew MitchellPosted on
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The UFC has seen some classic fights over the years. From Stephen Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin I to Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva, there are certain bouts which MMA fans never tire of rewatching. One of the most legendary though was the brutal, headline grabbing match-up between Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Zhang Weili. Taking place in 2020 at UFC 248, it was truly notable for its ferocity and also the impact it had on female fighting.

But what happened, is a rematch on the cards and why should we consider this historical 2020 match-up as a pioneering fight in women’s sport?

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Weili Zhang at UFC248 by Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Weili Zhang at UFC248 | Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Zhang vs Jędrzejczyk – what happened?

Zhang came into the fight after winning her initial four UFC bouts in the strawweight division and with a lot of confidence. Jędrzejczyk though was an experienced winner in UFC and their title fight in 2020 soon became a must-see for MMA fans.

Once the action got underway, Zhang’s power was pitted against Jędrzejczyk’s accuracy over five rounds of full-on action. Zhang got the nod in the end to win and Jędrzejczyk ended up needing serious hospital attention after it finished. Widely seen as the greatest female fight ever, many have been calling for a rematch ever since and have been speculating who would win it.

Who might be favourite with sports bettors to win any potential rematch?

Zhang vs Jędrzejczyk II is only an idea at the moment – even more so when you realise that Jędrzejczyk has not fought again since the first bout. But who might win any potential rematch and where would sports bettors be best putting their money?

A good tip is to look at sites with sports betting insights to get a feel for this and who the experts are predicting might win. While you might have to wait a bit closer to the time any potential rematch takes place, this is a quick and reliable way to find out. Of course, you could always check out the odds online sportsbooks are offering for the fight to happen and gauge how likely it is to occur at all.

Why was this fight so important for female fighters?

As noted above, the match-up between Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Zhang Weili has been hailed by most people as not only the greatest female UFC fight ever but arguably the greatest UFC bout ever. But why was this so crucial for women fighters?

Perhaps the biggest reason is that it helped to convert many of the remaining nay-sayers about female fighters in competitions like the UFC. To these people that were behind the curve (and there were a lot of them) female fighters were considered a sideshow. This bout potentially showed once and for all that women’s fighting deserved the same respect as their male counterparts. Women fighters should be able to access the same kind of support/sponsorship male fighters receive across the board.

Not only did it bring more attention from the public and media, it also brought more positive attention. This fight demonstrated that female fighters were just as tough as male ones and could produce fights which were just as brutal. As a result, it seemed a new level of respect has been granted to pro female fighters. Many of us, included you reading this, were already on board. This historical fight gave us a tool when encountering the last few people who wrongly insist that women cannot fight.

"Oh they can't fight? Watch this!"

Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC248 by Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Weili Zhang at UFC248 | Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Inspiration for the next generation

The Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk bout at UFC 248 is also likely to prove a real inspiration to the next generation of female fighters coming through. They will see what is possible and also see that women can compete at a high level in competitions like the UFC professionally. The net effect of this is that more female fighters will move into pro fighting and the whole sector should get a real lift from this influx of young talent.

Many think that this was a key fight because it helped to prove that there was an appetite for female fighters out there. The way it caught people’s attention and generated headlines showed that people were interested in this type of bout. As a result, competitions like the UFC could start to take female fighters more seriously and the audience for female fighting could grow in tandem.

Zhang vs Jędrzejczyk - a key turning point for female fighters

Before this bout, many outside of the pro women’s fighting world doubted the pulling power of female fighters or their ability to put on a top-draw show for fans. After this though, these questions became redundant and this is exactly why it was so crucial for women in pro fighting. By showing that female fighters have the skill, the toughness and the box-office appeal of male fighters, it has helped to push the female fighting scene up several notches.

This is why we believe in years to come people will look back at this fight and consider it one of the pioneering moments.

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