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Joanna Jedrzejczyk: 'I want to be Ronda Rousey in the strawweight division'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Women's bantamweight has RR. And women's strawweight has JJ.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk beat and bloodied Jessica Penne on Saturday, eventually finishing in the third round of their main event title bout at UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin. That makes four fights in the UFC for Jedrzejczyk and four victories. That's not quite Ronda Rousey territory, but she's getting there.

"I follow Ronda," Jedrzejczyk said at the post-fight press conference. "I am big fan of her. She is simply the best for me. But I want to be Ronda Rousey in the strawweight division."

And it's a mutual admiration society, too, apparently. Rousey tweeted some love for Jedrzejczyk on Saturday after the fight.

Jedrzejczyk (10-0), an expert striker, avoided almost all of Penne's takedown attempts and when she did hit the mat, she popped right back up. Jedrzejczyk dropped Penne in the first round, bloodied her badly in the second and then finished in the third. It was a complete, dominant performance for the Poland native.

Some thought that referee Marc Goddard should have stepped in and saved Penne sooner, because the beating was that severe. Jedrzejczyk said she doesn't necessarily agree and it isn't her call anyway.

"I cannot respond to my opponents," Jedrzejczyk said. "She's supposed to win this title, but I was ready for her. So I put on a great performance. I cannot help that I'm simply the best."

Jedrzejczyk, 27, said that she now wants a few months off. She had a quick turnaround after taking the title from Carla Esparza with a second-round TKO at UFC 185 in March. Jedrzejczyk is targeting a return sometime near the end of the year, around November or December. It's likely it'll be on a bigger stage that UFC Fight Pass, too.

The UFC might have a star on its hands with Jedrzejczyk, who combines technique with a violent streak and undeniable charisma when she's put in front of the cameras. She now has three wins in the last seven months, including a split decision against potential next challenger Claudia Gadelha in December.

"Five minutes ago, I was crying in the restroom because [UFC president] Dana [White] called me and I just imagine how big this year was for me," Jedrzejczyk said.

It's not over yet. Rousey has five wins in the UFC heading into her UFC 190 main event against Bethe Correia on Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro. Jedrzejczyk is on four right now and will try to follow in Rousey's footsteps to five later in the year.

The one big difference between the two? Rousey's violence is swift and final. Jedrzejczyk's is prolonged and bloody. That, though, is not by design for the woman who has dubbed herself Joanna Champion.

"No, I was listening to my corner, to my trainers," Jedrzejczyk said. "They say that I should take it easy, just throw a few punches, one by one. Not like an extra eight or 10. I did what they said and it was the key to the success. So, I'm very happy."

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