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Joanna Jedrzejczyk's plan: Defend strawweight title, then move up to 125 pounds and win second title there

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For those people who are anticipating a trilogy fight between current strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and her arch nemesis Claudia Gadelha somewhere down the line, you might have to wait a bit.

Or see it in a different division.

On Wednesday's media call between the Ultimate Fighter 23 coaches, the 115-pound champ Jedrzejczyk said her plan was to put the rivalry with Gadelha behind her on July 8 when they meet in Las Vegas, and then start collecting belts in other weight classes. Even ones that don't yet exist in the UFC.

"I think it's going to be the last fight between me and Claudia Gadelha, because I have plans to move to a different weight class, to 125 if there would be an option to fight for a title next there," Jedrzejczyk said. "We will see. I'll focus on this fight and I think that I'm definitely going to win this fight."

Asked to clarify those comments, with a shaky connection on the call, Jedrzejczyk reiterated.

"Yes, I want to be the first UFC fighter to hold belts in two different weight classes."

The 28-year old Polish star Jedrzejczyk won the title against Carla Esparza at UFC 185 in March 2015. Since then she has twice defended the belt, first against Jessica Penne in Germany, and later against Valeria Letourneau in Melbourne, Australia at UFC 193.

Her first fight with Gadelha in late-2014 was a razor close split decision victory, that some people — including Gadelha — thought the Brazilian won. The bad blood between the two has festered over the course of the new season of TUF, to the point that both women have expressed fatigue in talking about it.

They just want to fight.

And if Jedrzejczyk has it her way, she'll close the chapter on Gadelha for good by making it 2-0 against her. After that, she foresees the UFC opening up a 125-pound division, where many of the UFC's current strawweights and bantamweights would find a more natural home.

Especially since Joanna Calderwood and Letourneau just battled at a 125-pound catchweight at UFC FIght Night 89 earlier this month in Ottawa.

"I predict that, so I know it's going to happen," Jedrzejczyk said. "It was a good fight between Valerie and JoJo, the first catchweight at 125, but I think we need that division. So many girls from bantamweight can go down, so many girls from strawweight division can go up. So we should make that division the next division."

Asked who would be a contender to fight her for the inaugural 125-pound belt, Jedrzejczyk said it didn't matter.

"I don't know," she said. "I want to be the first champion of the 125-pound division."

The rematch between Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha will headline the TUF 23 Finale, which takes place on July 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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