UFC Strawweight world champion Zhang Weili has just had a fantastic end to the year as she has been promoted to brown belt in BJJ by third degree black belt Pedro Jordao at Gracie Barra Shunyi – Beijing. Weili has been a force to be reckoned with throughout her MMA career, building up an impressive 16-1 professional record on the Asian regional circuit before she signed to compete in the UFC. From there Weili continued her dominance by defeating Danielle Taylor, Jessica Aguilar, and Tecia Torres all within the space of seven months. This phenomenal run through the UFC Strawweight rankings earned her a title-shot against Jessica Andrade at UFC on ESPN+ 15.
Weili finished the champion with strikes in less than a minute and made history as the very first Chinese world champion in UFC history. She defended that title against Joanna Jedrejczyk and won a close split decision in 2020 before losing for the first time in her UFC career when she attempted to defend her title against Rose Namajunas. Weili was given an immediate rematch against Namajunas and although she did significantly better the second time around, she lost once again and was unable to regain her title. Weili went back to the drawing board for a few months before fighting Joanna Jedrejczyk again, who had been promoted to BJJ blue belt in the meantime.
In the end, Weili managed to land a brutal spinning backfist in the second round to finish the fight and earn herself another shot at the UFC Strawweight title. Weili managed to squeeze that title-shot in before the end of 2022, challenging new champion Carla Esparza at UFC 281. Zhang Weili wrapped up a rear-naked choke against Esparza and submitted her in the second round to regain her belt, and has now been promoted to brown belt in BJJ as a result of that win. She wasn’t the only new brown belt to come out of that event though, as Alex Pereira defeated Israel Adesanya to claim the UFC Middleweight title and has since been promoted to brown belt as well.
The news that UFC Strawweight world champion Zhang Weili was promoted to brown belt in BJJ was announced in a post to her official Instagram account: