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Heading into UFC 205, Joanna Jedrzejczyk looking for a new manager who will ‘bring me some money’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Heading into her fourth title defense against Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 205, UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been undergoing a good many changes. For starters she has settled on a steady training camp with American Top Team in Florida, after a nomadic stint of stopping into different gyms across the country.

She also recently parted ways with her manager, Tiago Okamura, making her a free agent for business. As for that second thing, Jedrzejczyk said she’s open for discussion with any managers who might thing they can represent her.

"I am waiting for a good offer," the 29-year old Polish champion said. "Bring me some money, and that’s all what I want from my manager. I’m here. I’m in the U.S."

Jedrzejczyk will be defending her title against Kowalkiewicz on the biggest stage possible, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight will take place third from the top behind Tyron Woodley’s welterweight title fight with Stephen Thompson and the big headliner, Conor McGregor against Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt.

In other words, she’s a hot commodity right now — and she wants representation that reflects her standing in the game.

Asked why she parted ways with Okamura, Jedrzejczyk said it wasn’t personal.

"We’re still friends, I like Tiago Okamura so much," she said. "But I decided to change something in my life and…you know, sometimes you need to change something in your life to go higher. I want to work with the best people in the world because I’m the best in the world. I want to retire as a champion, and this is my goal. This is my dream. And mark my word, because I’m going to do this.

"People are afraid of changes, and afraid to change in their life. But they like to complain. I don’t like to complain, I like to work. So it wasn’t easy for me to leave my gym or my coaches or my manager, but I want to keep on growing."

Jedrzejczyk had a rapid ascension in the UFC, debuting against Juliana Lima in 2014 and then eking out a split decision victory over Claudia Gadelha at UFC on FOX 13 in December of that same year. That set up a title fight with the inaugural strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, at UFC 185 in March 2015. Jedrzejczyk seized the moment, dominating Esparza early and ending the fight via TKO late in the second round.

Since they she has steadily beat back all challenges, including victories over Jessica Penne, Valerie Letourneau and her rematch with Gadelha in July.

With the ascension comes change, Jedrzejczyk said.

"Yes, I’d like to talk to [potential managers]," she said. "But I am very thankful to my old manager, my coaches, for the job, which we have done together, and what they’ve done for me.

"But the thing is, I’m different, you know? I am the UFC’s strawweight champion and I’m going to be the flyweight champion as well."

Her former manager Okamura also represents strawweight contender Jessica Andrade, who is coming off yet another impressive performance against Joanna Calderwood at UFC 203 in Cleveland.

Asked if that factored into her decision to part ways, Jedrzejczyk said it played a minimal role.

"I don’t know," she said. "I don’t know…no, I can face Jessica. I can face anyone. I spoke Tiago about that, because I left him like a month ago, or a few weeks ago. But we’ve been talking about what’s going to happen, if I’m going to face Jessica. He was mine and her manager at the time, so, a fight is a fight. We must take this serious."

As for how she views Andrade, who could be waiting in the wings for her should she successfully defend the title against Kowalkiewicz on Nov. 12, Jedrzejczyk was complimentary.

"Jessica is a very strong fighter," she said. "Her boxing is on point, her jiu-jitsu is very good, she’s very strong. She dropped from 135, so she’s very strong for the 115 pound division."

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