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Claudia Gadelha makes case for UFC title fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Is Claudia Gadelha the most logical choice for Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s first UFC title defense?

Gadelha battled Jedrzejczyk for three rounds in December, suffering her first professional loss in a close and controversial split decision. The Nova Uniao strawweight hopes to return to training in late May after pulling out of a UFN 64 bout with Aisling Daly due to a back injury, and wants a rematch with the champion.

"After everything that happened, the loss being so controversial… I still feel I’m undefeated. I know I didn’t lose that fight," Gadelha told journalists in Brazil. "Most of the people who watched the fight know what I’m talking about, so Joanna needs to be my next opponent so we can clear everything."

Gadelha’s manager and coach Andre Pederneiras also believes that a rematch with Jedrzejczyk is the fight that makes the most sense right now.

"I see ‘Claudinha’ as the next title challenger," Pederneiras said. "If you look at the division, there’s no one that makes more sense right now, especially after a fight that everybody saw she won. The rematch is the obvious step right now, but it’s up to the UFC. I don’t see anyone more deserving that her. Nobody thinks Joanna won that fight."

Pederneiras has been texting UFC president Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva for Gadelha vs. Jedrzejczyk 2, but doesn’t know if it’s going to happen.

"We ask for it all the time, but we don’t always get it," he said with a laugh. "I’m texting everybody. We’re trying."

If the promotion books Jedrzejczyk against other contender, Gadelha sees Carla Esparza as the best option for her return.

"If they don’t want to give me Joanna now, I’d be up to fighting Carla or any other opponent in the division," Gadelha said. "Carla and I are the only top 10 with no fight booked, so that could be an option. We also have a history for everything that happened on Invicta, so we have to fight. But first, Joanna and I have to go in there and fight to see who’s the best."