Li Jingliang did nothing wrong, but he seemingly got the worst outcome out of all the chaos from UFC 279.
During the lead up, he was seen on UFC Embedded getting a nice custom suit and being excited to show it off at the press conference. The Chinese fighter has also been working on his English and was looking forward to the media event, only for Khamzat Chimaev to start fighting everyone and force its abrupt cancellation.
A day later, Chimaev badly botched his weight cut and forced late shuffling in the final fight card. So instead of having that big opportunity against Tony Ferguson, he ended up with a tougher and much bigger opponent, that wasn’t remotely as popular.
For all the talk about being a “real gangster” leading up to this event, Li was the only one who had to face a new opponent 10 lbs heavier on just a day’s notice.
To compound things, he then went on to lose a split decision that not many agreed with. Dana White, like many fans this week, slammed the judges after the match.
“I thought Li won the fight,” White said. “He did (get the short end of the stick). They’re right, you’re right, the judges were wrong in my opinion. It wasn’t even like I was like ‘Wow, that could have gone either way. I was shocked when they said split decision.”
Nate Diaz, who ended up facing Li’s original opponent, says he “felt bad” for the Chinese UFC star.
“They didn’t want to let me fight Chung Li. That motherf—ker had the dopest suit in the press conference!” Diaz said, before apologizing for butchering his name. “You know what I was talking about, I didn’t mean to do that to him.
“Did you guys see his suit? Yeah, I felt bad for him. They should have showed him love,” Diaz said.
Li, just like he did every step of the way, took the split decision in stride and remained classy in defeat.
“Huge thanks to everyone who supports me. I felt a lot of love from you this week. You guys are who I am fighting for. I fight for my people, my family and my dream,” Li wrote on Instagram.
“I will keep walking on the path which I choose. Will never stop and take what belongs to me back. Congrat (Daniel Rodriguez), my friend.”