Top-ranked UFC welterweight Li Jingliang needs answers from the judges who scored his latest outing.
Jingliang was scheduled to take on former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 279. A major weight miss by Khamzat Chimaev needed the card to get re-shuffled.
Jingliang stepped up to the task and accepted a catchweight match with Daniel Rodriguez, who was ten pounds heavier at 180 pounds, on just a day’s notice to save the event from collapsing.
— Logan Offord (@loganofford) September 12, 2022
Rodriguez went into the bout as the betting favorite and managed to edge out Jingliang in a close-fought contest on the judges’ scorecards with a split decision.
While “D-Rod” agreed that he did more, UFC president Dana White was “shocked” at the result and believed Jingliang should have got the nod.
“I thought Li won the fight,” White said. “He did. They are right. You’re right. The judges were wrong in my opinion. It wasn’t even, ‘wow! That could have gone either way’. I was shocked when they said split decision.”
— Li Jingliang_MMA (@UfcJingliang) May 3, 2022
In an appearance on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, “The Leech” shared his thoughts on the decision of his last fight while sporting a shirt that read ‘robbery.’
“Yeah, of course I think I won the fight,” Jingliang said. “‘D-Rod’ is a great striker. We did some film study in the only few hours before the fight. He’s a counter puncher so that’s why I didn’t go forward aggressively.
I just tried to draw him to come towards me and tried to punch him. I just got touched by some of his jabs.”
“When Bruce Buffer declared the result, I couldn’t believe that. It’s already an awful matchup and the result was worse. I think it’s injustice. I can accept a loss, that’s fine, but please tell me why. Please, the three judges, tell me, why do you think I lost the fight.”
Jingliang stated that he received a call from White before his fight with Rodriguez and indicated he could get a main event outing next.
“Yeah, Dana called me before the fight and said he owed me a main event. He didn’t say an exact time, when, and where but I need that. I think I need the opportunity, a bigger stage to show myself.”
He called out Jorge Masvidal for a potential showdown. “If he wants me to call some name, I will say Jorge Masvidal. I want to fight the ‘BMF.’”
Jingliang gave his take on how the brawl that canceled the press conference for the first time in the promotion’s history started.
“When Khamzat came in,” Jingliang said. “In my eyes, he was trying to say hello to us. He said hello to me and then went to Kevin Holland, in my eyes, he’s trying to say hello to Holland but I don’t know why maybe Kevin felt he was kind of aggressive and then just pushed him.
Kevin pushed Khamzat. And then Khamzat just goes backward at comes back with a kick to Holland.
“They just start punching and kicking each other so everybody was shocked. Then, I just held Khamzat and separated them and I told Khamzat, ‘not today, not today bro.’ It was complete chaos there.
Then everybody came, the security and even Dana. We just separated these two but they were still talking trash. Dana was there too and he tried to calm them down.”
You can watch the full interview below.