The pecking order of the UFC strawweight division underwent a minor upheaval last month when Claudia Gadelha suffered a surprisingly lopsided loss to Jessica Andrade at UFC Japan. Gadelha was long thought to be the No. 2 fighter in the division, having fought to two razor-close decisions opposite UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, however Gadelha turned out to be no match for Andrade, who bloodied and battered her fellow countrywoman en route to a victorious sweep of the judges’ scorecards.
The result thrust Andrade back into pole position among the division’s contenders. But Jedrzejczyk — who holds a commanding win over Andrade — believes the outcome at UFC Japan had more to do with Gadelha’s preparation, or lack thereof, rather than anything special Andrade brought to the table.
“I have so much respect for this girl (Gadelha) because she was one of the most dominant fighters in the strawweight division,” Jedrzejczyk said Wednesday on a UFC 217 media conference call. “But the thing is, I beat Jessica Andrade and everyone saw that: In May, in Dallas, at UFC 211. And Claudia Gadelha didn’t prepare for the fight with Jessica Andrade. She took that (fight) easy, and big congrats to Jessica Andrade that she looked so good. But Claudia Gadelha made her look so good because she didn’t prepare for this fight.”
Jedrzejczyk, 30, put on a masterful showing against Andrade at UFC 211, confounding the Brazilian with a dazzling striking display and generally outclassing Andrade from pillar to post. Jedrzejczyk won all five rounds on the judges’ scorecards, giving the Polish champion her fifth consecutive defense of the UFC strawweight title.
And that dominance is exactly why Jedrzejczyk was so disappointed in Gadelha.
“Jessica Andrade didn’t bring anything new to this fight (at UFC Japan),” Jedrzejczyk explained. “Claudia Gadelha didn’t have a plan. I train with the best coaches in the world. I train with the best team and the best gym in the world at American Top Team, and we know how to fight. We know how to train and we know how to fight, and that’s why I make all of them look like I made Jessica (look) in our fight.”
Jedrzejczyk, the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound women’s fighter in the UFC, is currently slated to defend her title against Rose Namajunas on Nov. 4 at UFC 217.
If she does so successfully, “Joanna Violence” will have effectively cleaned out the entire top tier of the strawweight division. That peerlessness is a rare thing thing to achieve in MMA, and it has Jedrzejczyk on the verge of tying Ronda Rousey’s women’s record for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC history. And as Jedrzejczyk demonstrated on Wednesday after a reporter unwisely compared her to another former opponent, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the champion isn’t one to tolerate any comparisons to her competition.
“Hey, hey, hey, change your question a little bit, because never say that Karolina Kowalkiewicz has a similar style to mine,” Jedrzejczyk scolded the reporter. “She got beat up for five rounds. She had, like, 10 seconds in the fourth round of [success] and she didn’t do anything about it. So please, don’t compare me to some other fighter, okay? Thank you so much.”
As always, Jedrzejczyk was confident was asked about her next task.
She said that Namajunas was already a broken opponent then vowed to break Namajunas even further at UFC 217. After that, a move to the newly-created women’s flyweight division could be next, as Jedrzejczyk teased her goals of becoming a two-division UFC champion once she reaches Rousey’s all-time record.
But first, she must take care of business against Namajunas.
“Let’s focus on this fight and let’s talk after,” Jedrzejczyk said.
“I will answer this question (about moving up to flyweight), but right now I’m focused on Rose. She’s my next opponent, she’s my next big challenge. She’s a very dangerous fighter. You must expect everything and anything from your opponent, so I’m ready for five rounds. We all know that one submission or one punch can change the fight, but I’m prepared for that. I’m prepared for that, and let’s talk about me moving up after this fight.”