In the summer of 2017, Joanna Jedrzejczyk was on top of the MMA world.
Having just dispatched Jessica Andrade — a woman many viewed as Jedrzejczyk’s toughest challenge — with relative ease, Jedrzejczyk had reinforced her hold on the strawweight title and established herself as the best female mixed martial artist on the planet. But just a few months later, that would all come crashing down as one of the sport’s most feared strikers was knocked out by Rose Namajunas at UFC 217.
Now, with a rematch against Namajunas at UFC 223 looming, Jedrzejczyk says she is going to bounce back stronger than ever to prove that failure isn’t the end.
“We all can fall,” Jedrzejczyk told MMANytt. “This is what I’m going to do, I’m going to dedicate this fight to people who fell and they don’t have the power to raise up, but I will show to them that it’s worth it. I will raise up. I raised already, so I will show the people that it’s worth it. It’s worth it to stand up and fight.”
And fall she did.
Jedrzejczyk was a prohibitive favorite heading into the Namajunas bout, but was knocked out in three minutes by “Thug Rose.” It was a shocking upset and the first loss of Jedrzejczyk’s professional career. Afterwards, Jedrzejczyk revealed serious issues with her weight cut heading into the bout that played a role in her performance. Jedrzejczyk has, according to her, corrected those issues heading into their rematch.
And while she takes nothing away from Namajunas’ performance, Jedrzejczyk declares that “Thug Rose” won a battle, but not the war.
“I have so much respect for Rose Namajunas, same as I had before the first fight,” said Jedrzejczyk. “I didn’t disrespect her. ... The thing is, everyone can win [a] short fight, quick fight. Of course, she did it perfect. She punched me, she was so precise and she had enough power that night to knock me out. But, like I said, I was not a competitor that night. I went through so many wars, and maybe she won a battle, but she’s not going to win a war. I’m going to win on April 7.”
Jedrzejczyk is second-longest reigning female UFC champion, behind only Ronda Rousey’s run as the bantamweight titleholder. After winning the belt in 2014, she successfully defended her title five times over the next three years and made a case for being considered the greatest female fighter ever. But with the possibility of losing a second time to Namajunas in less than a year, Jedrzejczyk suddenly finds herself in the most important battle of her career, one she says will define her legacy.
“You can build your legacy and your legacy can be big, but even after you slip or fall, you learn, and your legacy is getting even bigger,” Jedrzejczyk said. “This fight, this one fight on April 7, and the victory that night, is going to be bigger than all of my UFC fights.”
Jedrzejczyk challenges Namajunas for the 115-pound title in the co-main event of UFC 223 on April 7 in Brooklyn, New York.
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King Mo interview.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
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