UFC news, rumors: Jessica Andrade's next fight nearly set, crane collapses on fighter's apartment
Andrade will reportedly be heading to China soon to defend against an unlikely opponent
New UFC women's strawweight champion Jessica Andrade will not have a lengthy wait before making the first defense of her title. According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, the promotion is close to finalizing a deal that would pit Andrade against Weili Zhang on Aug. 31 at a UFC Fight Night event to be held in Shenzhen, China.
Andrade (20-6) stunned last month when she defeated Rose Namajunas at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, via second-round knockout after violently slamming the champion onto her head to earn the 115-pound title. Interestingly enough, this past weekend following the UFC 238 event, UFC president Dana White shut down the ideas that top contenders Tatiana Suarez, a rising prospect at 8-0 who remained undefeated at UFC 238, and Michelle Waterson, who owns likely the best resume in regards to earning a title shot, would be next for the new champ.
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Dismissing both Suarez and Waterson at the time was peculiar, yet here we are days later learning that Zhang (19-1) will become the first Chinese-born fighter to earn a title shot in UFC history ... in her home country ... right around the same time that the promotion plans to open its Performance Institute in the country that was announced last year. Popular or not, White always has a plan in place.
Despite hinting towards potential retirement following the UFC 237 title loss, Namajunas' manager confirmed to Okamoto that his client is merely taking some time off to heal and could compete again by the end of the year. So, should Andrade come out of China with her championship, a rematch could be in the cards before we exit the decade.
More UFC news, rumors
- Undefeated UFC women's bantamweight competitor Macy Chiasson was lucky to survive a terrifying accident this past Sunday as a construction crane crashed down on her apartment complex in Dallas, Texas. Making it out with just a cut on her foot as she escaped the danger, Chiasson has filed a lawsuit against both the apartment complex as well as the crane company.
- For the fourth consecutive year, we're reminded that ex-UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor is very rich. Forbes released its annual highest-paid athletes list, and McGregor came in at No. 21 overall by earning $47 million last year. The reported record 2.4 million PPV buys for his lightweight title match against Khabib Nurmagomedov last October were the biggest factor in regards to his remaining one of the highest-paid sports figures walking the planet. Plus, you know, the whiskey didn't hurt, either.
- According to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, UFC has had discussions of women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defending against Liz Carmouche at the UFC Fight Night event in San Antonio, Texas, on July 20. Why would this be interesting? Well, the streaking Shevchenko's first professional loss came all the way back in 2010 to Carmouche for the C3 Fights promotion.
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