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Joanna Jedrzejczyk says Karolina Kowalkiewicz is a ‘fake person’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

With the UFC’s first ever event at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12 already a historical marker for the sport of MMA, Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s strawweight title defense against fellow Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz is the miniature history within. Yet just because they share a country of origin doesn’t mean they are simpatico with each other.

Or at least, not entirely.

Jedrzejczyk sees Kowalkiewicz as a nice enough person on the surface, but ultimately something else when it comes down to it. She explained her first impressions of Kowalkiewicz on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, describing the turnabout.

"She was super-nice, super-cute, she came to me with her coach, they hugged me, they were talking to me," she said of Kowalkiewicz. "But…she isn’t a great person. That’s her problem. She’s a fake person."

Things went a little sour between the two when Kowalkiewicz upset Rose Namajunas at UFC 201 in July to establish herself as Jedrzejczyk’s next challenge. 

"For my fight with Gadelha, we had to record some media for our sponsor and we had a photo shoot together," Jedrzejczyk said. "She was super-nice, we were talking a lot. But after her fight with Rose she said some bad things. And that’s the reason."

It perhaps boiled down to Kowalkiewicz’s instinct to sell the fight. Asked specifically what Kowalkiewicz said to make her change her mind about her, Jedrzejczyk pointed in that direction.

"That I’m afraid of her and that I’m going to lose my belt," she said. "There’s no trash talk, but she’s fake. And I’m going to prove that she’s a fake person."

Jedrzejczyk is coming off an empathic decision victory over Claudia Gadelha in July, which capped off a coaching stint against her Brazilian rival for The Ultimate Fighter 23. Namajunas, who was a star from TUF 20, was being groomed in many people’s eyes as the next challenge for Jedrzejczyk, yet Kowalkiewicz was able to eke out a split decision victory to change the narrative.

Now that it’s slated for MSG at UFC 205, the fight will take on a bigger spotlight, particularly with Conor McGregor challenging Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt in the headlining spot.

Asked if Kowalkiewicz was on her level, Jedrzejczyk was straightforward.

"She’s not, but she’s a tough chick," she said. "So it’s going to be a really tough and interesting fight, but she’s not on my level.

"She deserved to fight for this title. She beat Rose, and Rose was supposed to be my next opponent. But Karolina won and she’s the challenger."

Overall, Jedrzejczyk — who has defended the 115-pound title three times and is one of the more dominant champions in the UFC currently — was matter-of-fact when asked if she was impressed with "The Polish Princess."

"No, I am not impressed with Karolina Kowalkiewicz," she said.

And as for having to fight her fellow Polish fighter, if there were mixed feelings associated? No.

"It’s my business, it’s my job," she said. "I don’t mind who’s going to be my next opponent or who’s Karolina. She could be from Cuba and I’m still going to fight her. She could be from my city and I’m still going to fight her if I have to fight her."

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