Fighting out of Beijing, China, “The Leech” Li Jingliang, 31, is one of the top Asian mixed martial artists currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Recently, he talked about the importance of being a people person to MMA fighters like him.
“MMA is different as a sport,” Li pointed out. “You have to be very social. You meet different people from all over the world.”
“You have to learn different skills from different people,” the Beijing native continued. “It’s also very fashionable and we look cool.”
Born in Tacheng, Xinjiang, China on March 20, 1988, Li has been competing professionally since 2007. He made his professional MMA debut in Art of War in 2007 and competed in Ultimate Martial Arts Combat in and in Legend Fighting Championship from 2010 to 2013 before joining the UFC in 2014.
On August 31, 2019, Li earned his ninth UFC win at “UFC Fight Night 157” at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre Arena in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. He knocked out Elizeu “Capoiera” Zaleski dos Santos, 32, of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.
Li often looks at today’s MMA crowds and thinks back to when people were still coming to grips with what was still a relatively new sport in Asia back in the early 2000s. Legend FC and its stable of fighters sought to educate them.
“People didn’t really know that much about MMA and the rules,” Li recalled. “Mainly they thought it was just two people fighting each other. Crowds were often small but for us this was the start of everything.”
The Chinese MMA fighter has started to reach out as an MMA educator himself with a series of training videos available online. He was delighted to hear the news of the Legend FC relaunch in 2018.
On September 14, 2019, Li attended “Legend FC 13“ at the MGM Theater in Taipa, Ilhas, Macau, China. It is his dream to the next generation of fighters from his country emerge from the action.
“Now, that Legend FC is back the younger generation of Chinese fighters will have a chance to fight,” Li said. “It is a great step for their careers and maybe one day they can get to the UFC too.”
“Ten years ago people didn’t know about the sport,” the Chinese UFC fighter continued. “Now, they know it is safe. It’s tough. It’s physical but it is also about the strategy in your mind.”
Meanwhile, watch all the “Legend FC 13” bouts here: