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Claudia Gadelha: Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s mind games don’t work on me and ‘that might be bad for her’

LAS VEGAS — Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha have one of the most compelling rivalries in MMA right now. It was the focal point of The Ultimate Fighter 23 on FS1 this season.

The two got in each other's face at every turn on the show. They even got into a legitimate brawl after cameras stopped rolling back in March. And just about every second the two spent in each other's company Jedrzejcyzk was lobbing antagonizing words Gadelha's way.

This is not new behavior from the UFC women's strawweight champion. She got in Carla Esparza's head leading up to their fight, which she won to take home the belt. She had words with Jessica Penne at weigh-ins. Jedrzejczyk and Valerie Letourneau had intense encounters.

Jedrzejczyk won all those fights. Gadelha believes the mental warfare is a key to the Polish star's skillset.

"I think the mind game is part of Joanna's game inside the Octagon and she tried everything with me and it didn't work," Gadelha said Tuesday at open workouts. "I just don't pay attention to the things she says. I don't think she says nice things; nothing she says gets in my head. I don't care about the things she says and that might be bad for her, because she needs that to fight well."

Gadelha (13-1) has fought Jedrzejczyk before, losing a very close split decision at UFC on FOX 13 in December 2014. So this won't be a new experience for her when the two meet again Friday in the TUF 23 Finale main event at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

What is new will be the build up. There wasn't much of a rivalry going into the first fight and now it has exploded. Coaching against one another on The Ultimate Fighter only exacerbated the dislike. Jedrzejczyk has said that she doesn't like the way the show was edited, claiming it painted her in a bad light. Gadelha disagrees.

"It's exactly how everything happened there," Gadelha said. "She said what she said and they film. All she can do is regret for the rest of her life. She really said everything. She really did everything."

Gadelha, 27, only has one loss on her record and that's the one to Jedrzejczyk. She doesn't consider it a loss; the Brazilian truly feels like she won that fight and she's confident she'll win this one, too.

"I think this changes my training camp, the way I'm training," Gadelha said. "I'm training to knock people out, submit people, not winning fights by the points. That's the only thing that changes my game. Other than that, I'm not gonna think about the judges while I'm fighting."

The two heated rivals didn't faceoff Tuesday. That won't come until Thursday at weigh-ins. Jedrzejczyk has a ritual at those. She likes to give her opponents somewhat of a sinister gift. Gadelha isn't worried about it. And if it happens, she said, Gadelha might have something to give right back.

"If you watch my weigh-ins and my fights, I don't like mind games," Gadelha said. "Like I have been saying, I grew up in the BJJ philosophy and I learned to be very respectful to my opponents with the coaches. Joanna is completely different than me. So she kind of bothered me with that. I never did nothing. But if she does things to me, I'll do things back to her."

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