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Joanna Jedrzejczyk will eventually return to flyweight, but ‘I want to be strawweight champ again’

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Joanna Jedrzejczyk remains the longest reigning strawweight champion in UFC history, and she’s determined to wear that title again.

Recently, it appeared that goal might end up out of reach. Ahead of her UFC Tampa bout against Michelle Waterson, reports surfaced she was suffering through a brutal weight cut and might not be able to fight.

Jedrzejcyzk ultimately ended up making weight without incident, and she won a lopsided decision over Waterson after five rounds in their main event showdown.

“I’m a professional – I didn’t want to screw the show,” Jedrzejczyk explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “The thing is, I just let the UFC know that my weight went up for no reason, because I was super light in the middle of all this. I got some help from the UFC Performance Institute – big shout out to Clint [Wattenburg], who took care of my weight cutting and nutrition for the last two weeks before the fight.

“I got good support. I got the right kind food from them. It makes it so much easier for a fighter’s life. I thought of the weight cut because we needed to save this card. I need to fight, so I was thinking of a catchweight, but everything ended up good. I was not even close to missing weight.”

Jedrzejczyk previously has spoken about how a terrible weight cut drained her ahead of the fight that cost her the strawweight title when she lost to Rose Namajunas in 2017.

It’s never been easy for Jedrzejczyk to cut down to 115 pounds. But she believes she has the right team around her now to ensure she won’t struggle as much going forward.

“I used to starve myself to death,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I turn 32 this year, and my body’s changing. When people heard about my weight cut, they were jumping on me, (saying) ‘Go for a run!’ These people don’t know how dedicated I am.

“I was eating 1,000 calories [per day], training every day. It’s not like I don’t know what to do. I know what to do. I’m a professional athlete, and I’ve been doing this for 16 years. That’s the point.”

After a close loss to Namajunas in a rematch and a win over Tecia Torres in 2018, Jedrzejczyk decided to make the move to flyweight to challenge Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant title.

Things did not go her way that night. She lost a unanimous decision to Shevchenko, who remains the reigning and defending UFC flyweight champion.

While it’s almost a certainty that Jedrzejcyzk will test the waters at 125 pound again, she’s fully committed to winning back the strawweight title with hopes of facing current champion Weili Zhang in her next fight.

“Yes of course [I’ll return to flyweight], but right now we’re at strawweight, and I want to be the champ one more time my life,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I want to be strawweight champ again.

“The weight cut went smooth and easy, and I’m very excited to step into the Octagon with Weili Zhang. I’m super excited about that.”