Chatri Sityodtong has a grand idea for a clash that would make history not just for the Asian MMA scene, but for the sport in general.
The ONE Championship chairman hosted a Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday and was asked to name a “dream matchup for women’s mixed martial arts.” He answered by pairing up his strawweight (125-pound) champion Xiong Jing Nan with UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili.
“For women’s mixed martial arts I would love to see Jingnan Xiong vs Weili Zhang,” Sityodtong said, per a press release. “I think Jingnan is the one to beat Weili Zhang.”
Though Xiong may not have the name value of her UFC counterpart—at least in North America—the 32-year-old has carved out her own niche, winning 14 of her first 15 bouts and capturing a world title at 125 pounds (classified as strawweight in ONE). She suffered her second loss last October after dropping down to 115 pounds to challenge champion Angela Lee.
Xiong remains unbeaten at 125 pounds, including consecutive title defenses against Lee, Samara Santos, and Laura Balin.
Zhang (21-1) won the UFC’s 115-pound title last August with a 42-second TKO of Jessica Andrade and then successfully defended it against Joanna Jedrzejczk by split decision at UFC 248 in an instant classic five-round battle.
Any meeting between Xiong and Zhang would require the UFC to agree to cross-promote with ONE, something the Las Vegas-based promotion has resisted doing in the past regardless of the company involved.
Should Sityodtong find a willing promotional dance partner, he also mentioned Lee as a fighter he’d like to see tested against champions from other organizations.
“I think Angela Lee vs. any atomweight in the world,” Sityodtong said. “Angela Lee is incredible. I’ve seen her in training. I’ve seen her go into a bout with pneumonia with doctor’s advice not to compete and I’ve tried my best to stop the fight. Angela Lee’s an absolute warrior and she’s just a genius on the ground.”