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Joanna Jedrzejczyk: 'I could maybe visit Ronda Rousey’s gym and we could train together'

Esther Lin, Sportsfile

The first time that Joanna Jedrzejczyk fought Claudia Gadelha, the fight was so close that many bemoaned the fact that Jedrzejczyk was the one who got her arm raised in the end. That was in December, just a little over seven months ago.

Since that time Jedrzejczyk has captured the strawweight title by shutting down inaugural titleholder, Carla Esparza, and followed that up with a dominant performance against Jessica Penne in June, whom she finished via third-round TKO.

When Gadelha defeated Jessica Aguilar at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro this past Saturday, the lines opened up for a rematch. And though Gadelha’s performance opened a lot of eyes, the Polish champion Jedrzejczyk still thinks the Brazilian challenger should have another fight before getting a crack at her belt.

"I think she lost with me and that she should have another fight before title shot but, you know, it’s Dana’s choice and I’m very happy," she said during an appearance on The MMA Hour on Monday. "I’m ready for her."

The 27-year-old Jedrzejczyk (10-0) has become an overnight star in the UFC, even turning bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey into a gushing fan. The two met a couple of months back when the UFC unveiled the Reebok fight kits in New York City. Rousey has called Jedrzejczyk a "fighter’s fighter," and has been very complimentary towards Jedrzejczyk since she put the beatdown on Penne in Berlin.

Jedrzejczyk is also very much a fan of Rousey’s, who is coming off a 34-second knockout of Bethe Correia at UFC 190. Jedrzejczyk she said she wouldn’t mind training with at the Glendale Fighting Club in the San Fernando Valley, if it’s possible.

"Yeah, why not?" she told Ariel Helwani. "I would like to visit some gyms and train a little bit before I start my camp in Poland. So yeah, why not. I could maybe visit Ronda’s gym and we could train together."

Jedrzejczyk suffered a broken thumb in her fight with Penne, which as temporarily sidelined her. When asked when she’d like to return to action, she said she could possibly return as early as December.

That’s also expected to be around the time frame of Rousey’s next title defense against Miesha Tate. The UFC has said that it is looking at a possible show at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, using the trilogy fight between Rousey and Tate as one of the attractions. Another possibility that’s been talked about – within the media and with fans, anyway – is in having Rousey defend her belt in a headlining role next, with Jedrzejczyk versus Gadelha as the co-main event.

Asked if she would like a scenario like that, Joanna "Champion" said she would.

"I was super-happy when I heard about that, so yeah," she said. "I like it so much."

As for what she thought of Gadelha’s performance at UFC 190, the statement she made to enforce the rematch, Jedrzejczyk said she was impressed. 

"Yeah, she did well," she said. "She’s very strong. This is what I said before, and I think that she’s one of the best in my division. But she didn’t respect that, because she was talking about the split decision and other sh--. But yeah, I’m happy for her that she won. She did a great job, and that’s all. Jessica Aguilar, she said she’s No. 1 in the strawweight division. She thought that she’s was one of the best, but she’s not."

After her victory over Aguilar, Gadelha used the post-fight interview in the Octagon to her advantage, calling for the title shot. Jedrzejczyk said she appreciated that, too.

"[Claudia] was very respectful, and I like it so much," she said.

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