Could Fairtex Cope with UFC Competition like Weili?

January 3, 2024
3 months

Stamp Fairtex is one of the most popular fighters in ONE Championship right now. She’s the atomweight champion and is becoming very famous for her energetic performances in and outside the ring. With the media attention growing, could she turn up in the UFC and compete against the likes of Zhang Weili?

Fairtex in the USA

One reason that Stamp Fairtex is so popular is that she shares a lot of content on her social media channels. In 2023, she spent lots of time traveling the United States of America, visiting many places in the country. Could this be a sign that she wants to move here and fight in the UFC? After all, she’s fought all but one of her MMA and Muay Thai fights in Asia; it could be time for her to move on and reach bigger international audiences. She was named the MMA Fighter of the Year in 2023 by ONE Championship, showing her skill at this level.

Parallels Between Fairtex and Weili Make the Fight

Both fighters participated in a prior sport before switching to MMA. Fairtex has a mouthwatering 64 wins in Muay Thai, while Zhang Weili fought numerous kickboxing bouts before committing fully to MMA. The Thai fighter is where Weili was in 2017; she’s holding a title, having mastered a lot of her opposition in Asia, and realistically needs a new challenge far away from her homeland.

Weili initially started strong in her UFC run but came unstuck twice against Rose Namajunas, as the American handed Weili her first two professional losses. Weili then put in three consecutive Performance of the Night fights, winning the UFC strawweight championship against Carla Esparza and then defending it against Amanda Lemos. If Fairtex could emulate Weili, she would make MMA breaking news in Thailand and beyond.

How Does the Fight Play Out?

These two are very similar in fighting style. Both try to go for the KO win but have decent submission games, too. The excitement factor that would titillate MMA news websites would be the collision of the Muay Thai and kickboxing styles, as it would bring out the best in both fighters. They would be happy to keep the fight upright as the pair would be able to execute their desired offense strategies while standing. This fight would probably not go the distance, as the desire to earn a KO victory would be too strong for the participants.

Fairtex’s Road to Weili

While we can wish for a direct fight between Stamp Fairtex and Zhang Weili, even if Dana White signed the Thai fighter in January this year, there’s a long list of other fights in the strawweight division who want a shot at the Chinese champion. Jessica Andrade is the default fighter who everyone needs to get past to succeed in this division; Mackenzie Dern is another staple, both of which would be perfect acid tests to see whether Fairtex has the mettle to compete in the UFC.

Should those initial fights go well, then the UFC would be wise to put this fight on in one of its international events where a huge crowd would flock to buy tickets and/or purchase the PPV. Dana White has already said that he intends to visit China more often. This would attract a massive local audience for Weili as well as many visiting fans from Thailand and Singapore, where Fairtex was born and where she commonly fights. This China against Thailand narrative would create major hype on MMA news sites around fight night with national pride hanging in the balance, as well as a championship.

The Atomweight Problem

In the United States, the lowest MMA weight class is strawweight at 115 pounds. However, some organizations, especially in Asia (where Fairtex has spent most of her career fighting), operate an ’atomweight’ division, which can range from as low as 105 pounds. In ONE Championship, their atomweight classification is registered as 115, meaning that despite the name being different, Fairtex is already competing at the weight division as the strawweight competitors in the UFC.

Could This Fight Ever Transpire?

In theory, yes, both fighters are active and sit at the top of their respective divisions as the title holders. The probability of it happening depends a lot on how far Stamp Fairtex wants to push herself. ONE Championship has been very good to her and allowed her success and fame. The company has just signed a deal with Sky Sports in the UK, meaning it will have much greater exposure than ever before, but is this reason enough to stick around? The UFC is still the place to be, maybe the PFL, but for women’s MMA, there are a lot more options and divisions with Dana White’s company.

This fight doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the UFC, however. Weili might want to be closer to her family in China and could sign up with ONE, which chiefly operates in Asia, putting the two in the direct firing line of one another. ONE is known to love a mixed rules contest, which could allow the two to face off in a hybrid kickboxing or Muay Thai contest, or one of the two, given both should be able to compete in both disciplines.

The only potential issue is the age gap between Fairtex and Weili. Fairtex has a lot of road ahead of her at 26 years of age. She could easily fight for ten or so more years. Weili has a lot more miles on the clock, having fought double the number of fights, and she’s already 34. Does she want to still be kicked in the head for a living when she’s 40+?

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