When it comes to win/loss records alone, there’s an argument to made that Joanna Jedrzejczyk is already the most successful woman to ever compete in the UFC. The reigning strawweight champion carries a flawless 7-0 Octagon record into her May 13 title defense against Jessica Andrade at UFC 211 — a number that already exceeds the résumé of Ronda Rousey, whose 6-2 UFC run widely popularized the women’s side of the sport, but faded away before it could reach an Anderson Silva or Demetrious Johnson level of sustained excellence.
But Rousey is still the standard-bearer for female UFC champions in many regards, and her record of six consecutive UFC title defenses still looms large as the number to beat on the female side of the game. So with the fifth defense of her strawweight strap just around the corner, Jedrzejczyk knows it’s only a matter of time until she makes history by surpassing Rousey, provided she continues her winning ways.
“I want that record,” Jedrzejczyk said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I want this female record, which is six title defenses straight. And then I will look up to the guys’ (record).”
The overall UFC title defense record is presently held by Silva, who defended his middleweight belt 10 consecutive times over a 2,457-day reign. However, that record could conceivably be extended by Johnson, the UFC’s current flyweight champion, who will tie Silva at 10 defenses with a victory over Wilson Reis at UFC on FOX 24.
Either way, Jedrzejczyk knows she has a long way to go until reaching those dazzling heights. So in the interim, the popular 29-year-old is simply focusing on the fight in front of her, and not overextending herself with personal and professional obligations like Rousey did in the final months of her UFC title reign.
“Every fighting career is different,” Jedrzejczyk said. “We all are different. Our lives are different. But the thing is, of course I learned some (from Rousey’s situation), but I’m trying to be smart for myself. There was a time when I could fly to Poland for 10 days, do like seven days of media, I slept like six hours a day, but (coach) Katel (Kubis) was with me and we had amazing times during the training between obligations. But the thing is, it was time for it. Now it’s time to just get ready for the fight. Eight-and-a-half weeks, I will [focus only on] getting ready for UFC 211, and the thing is, no one is going to get my attention.
“There is no option that you’re going to put a million dollars in front of me and I will go with you because of the money. No, I will choose to put on great workout and just get better until the fight. I am focused on my camp, I am focused on myself. I am selfish. I’m here in Florida by myself. I left my fiancée and my family there (in Poland), but they understand. They support me and I’m calm because I know they’re waiting for me, but I have good people here and I can be focused just on the camp. So, people, don’t get crazy when people offer you money for sponsorships. First, we are fighters, and we must sure that we’re going to be ready for the fight.”
The philosophy is likely a good one to embrace heading into UFC 211, considering that Jedrzejczyk has a formidable challenge waiting for her in Andrade, a hard-hitting 25-year-old who has run roughshod over the UFC strawweight division since moving down from 135 pounds. Andrade is a perfect 3-0 at her new weight, with a trio of dominant performances over Jessica Penne, Joanne Calderwood, and Angela Hill surging her into the top-five of the UFC’s media-generated rankings.
Andrade has also not been shy about lobbing a few shots at Jedrzejczyk through the media, consistently criticizing the Polish champion for having a weak chin and vowing to knock her out. But Jedrzejczyk isn’t buying what Andrade is selling.
“Have you seen me responding on that?” Jedrzejczyk said. “People are f*cking getting fights on Twitter. It’s crazy. I spoke to (UFC matchmaker) Sean (Shelby) about it and he’s like, ‘I cannot help [it]. I’m trying to be quiet, I let people talk.’ But the thing is, okay, the face-offs are pretty tough with me, the weigh-ins, the fights, but I let people talk. I talk with my body in the Octagon the day of the fight. This is what I want to do. I don’t want to talk to them. You’re right or you’re not.”
Jedrzejczyk said the trash talk from Andrade is more surprising than usual simply because of the friendly relationship the two women shared prior to UFC 211, as well as the fact that Andrade is represented by Jedrzejczyk’s former manager, Tiago Okamura.
“I don’t know what Jessica is talking about,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I don’t know if Tiago is doing this, because Tiago was like a brother to me, and we’re still in good relations. I believe they can get more crazy because of the promotion and she has nothing to lose, but the thing is, I’m still good with them so I don’t know why they go crazy. ... I know that Jessica’s English is not so good, so I know that there is someone behind her back helping her with that. It might be Tiago, so I feel sorry for that. We are in good relations, so you’re honest or you’re fake.
“People are all like, ‘oh, Joanna is so quiet, she doesn’t respond.’ Because I don’t want to talk,” Jedrzejczyk added. “Like I said, [Andrade and I] have good relations. Every fight, any time we meet, it was good. We had good training together, good meal, good talk, we could hang out together. This is what I said: when the things get bigger, people get crazy. I thought that she was not going to act like this, but I see she is already getting into it more and more. But I feel sorry. I just want to be patient, be humble, keep on training, and let my fists talk to her on May 13 at UFC 211 in Dallas.”