Hard to fault a person for knowing what she wants.
Immediately after a stunning, first-round submission of Joanne Calderwood, Maryna Moroz made a beeline for the top of the Octagon. Sitting nearby was UFC women's strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Moroz said something to her, prompting Jedrzejczyk to get out of her seat and wave Moroz on.
and this just happened. Maryna Moroz calls out champ @joannamma #UFCKrakow pic.twitter.com/X1QkyIRaFc— UFC (@ufc) April 11, 2015
Just like that, a rivalry was ignited.
Moroz shook up the UFC's 115-pound women's division in a big way Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Cro Cop vs. Gonzaga in Krakow, Poland. She finished Calderwood, who was in line for a title shot, in just 90 seconds with an armbar and then she called out Jedrzejczyk.
"I consider Joanna a very good fighter, so that's why I spoke to her," Moroz said afterward through a translator. "It was kind of a challenge. I would be very happy now to fight for the championship title."
Moroz (6-0) has won all but one of her fights via armbar. The other victory was by TKO. This was the Ukraine native's UFC debut and now all of a sudden her name is being mentioned alongside Jedrzejczyk, who beat Carla Esparza for the UFC women's strawweight title at UFC 185 on March 14 in Dallas.
In the post-fight press conference, Moroz said she would like a title shot next. Calderwood was ranked No. 6 among division contenders, so she figured she should be right on that path despite being just 23 years old. Moroz was even winning on the feet against the striker before submitting her.
"I consider myself to be able to fight already for the title and I think I showed in this fight that I'm going to even be able to win," Moroz said.
There are likely to be a few contenders in front of her. Claudia Gadelha, who pulled out of a fight with Aisling Daly on this card due to injury, had a very close fight with Jedrzejczyk in December. Daly will go on to face Randa Markos at UFC 186 on April 25 in Montreal in an important fight. Jessica Penne and Tecia Torres are also top contenders if they can get by Juliana Lima and Angela Hill, respectively.
Then there are Rose Namajunas and the winner of a fight between Felice Herrig and Paige VanZant at UFC on FOX 15 next week. Either one of those three would be marketable options for the UFC.
It's clear, though, that the division is completely wide open with Esparza still around as well. Moroz just threw her hat in the ring and, after a win over Calderwood, it's hard to deny her place. Jedrzejczyk, a Poland native, seemed to come out of nowhere and now her fellow Eastern European has, too.
Moroz was asked if she thought it was too soon to ask for something as lofty as a title opportunity. It didn't take a translator to figure out what she thought about the question.
"Why too early?" she said.