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Karolina Kowalkiewicz calls to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk: ‘I think she's scared'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The next UFC strawweight title fight may very well be a home game for both competitors.

Undefeated Polish contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz scored the biggest win of her career on Saturday, capturing a split decision over Rose Namajunas at UFC 201 to vault into pole position for the next title shot against UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Afterward, Kowalkiewicz wasted little time calling out her Polish countrywoman.

"I want the fight with Joanna," Kowalkiewicz said at the UFC 201 post-fight press conference. "I am ready for her. She said that I'm not on her level. I think that I am good enough to fight with her. I want a fight with her. Let's do this. Polish power versus Polish power."

Kowalkiewicz entered the night as a betting underdog against the hard-charging Namajunas, but used a clinch-heavy attack and some surprisingly effective top control to nab two out of three of the judges' scorecards and pick up the upset, extending her unbeaten MMA record to 10-0.

The 30-year-old Kowalkiewicz now looks toward a fight with Jedrzejczyk. Combined, the two women hold a combined 22-0 record in professional mixed martial arts competition, nine of which have been won under the UFC umbrella. UFC president Dana White declined to make the match official on Saturday night, however he appeared excited about the prospect of staging it in Poland.

"It's the one that makes sense, but we've got to get back to the office and try to figure out what we do. I'll tell you, I'd love to do that fight in Poland," White said.

"The funny thing is Joanna Jedrzejczyk wanted us to sign her, and said ‘I want to prove to everybody in Poland that I'm the best,' and now she has worked her way up to a possible title shot here with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, so it's very interesting."

Kowalkiewicz is a native of Lodz, Poland, while Jedrzejczyk hails from nearby Olsztyn. The relationship between the two women goes back to the pair's amateur days, when Jedrzejczyk defeated Kowalkiewicz via submission.

Kowalkiewicz has been gunning for a second chance at Jedrzejczyk ever since, and after beating Namajunas, she is hopeful she will get exactly that.

"I think she's scared," Kowalkiewicz said of Jedrzejczyk. "Just like that."

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