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Joanna Jedrzejczyk reveals biggest roadblock to her UFC return: ‘I deserve a bigger piece of the cake’

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk wants to fight again but she also wants to get paid.

It’s been 19 months since the former strawweight champion last competed and just recently she was removed from the UFC rankings due to inactivity. Truth be told, Jedrzejczyk didn’t really care much about whether she was still in the rankings or not because that played no part in her sabbatical from the sport much less what it’s going to take to get her back in the octagon again.

“It’s not like I do not care but I do not care,” Jedrzejczyk said about the rankings when appearing on The MMA Hour. “It doesn’t matter. It’s doesn’t bother me, that’s the thing. It doesn’t change anything. Because when I will be back, I will be back in the rankings and rankings don’t fight. This is what I did a post about and a few days later it happened.

“They did [tell me]. [UFC matchmaker] Mick [Maynard] called us and said if I’m going to pull out of the fight, they’re going to take me out of the rankings because the girls are complaining. I think it’s more about me not fighting. It’s been a while, it’s been 19 months. I agreed to that.”

Jedrzejczyk didn’t reveal the opponent she turned down, although she did mention that the UFC has extended her contract for declining a fight, which is standard practice in the UFC. Any time an athlete declines a fight or suffers an injury that puts them out of action results in an automatic extension of an existing deal.

That didn’t bother Jedrzjeczyk but rather the choice of opponents being selected for her along with the paycheck she’d be earning for her next fight really appear to be the sticking points for her return to action, especially after engaging in a Fight of the Year with Zhang Weili in her last performance.

“There are so many fights but stupid fights,” Jedrzejczyk said. “But I’m waiting for Rose [Namajunas] and [Zhang] Weili. The winner or I can take even the second place. I just want to put on big fights. Dana [White] knows. Dana is a businessman but Mick, he has a different job and he has to make his own money. I bet he makes money out of making fights. But we have a different agreement with Dana and Dana always backs it up.

“I remember what the UFC told me after the fight that I can take as much time as I can and I will be back to the top fighting the best. So I’m guessing the champion or the No. 1 [contender]. That’s it.”

The five-round battle against Zhang in her last outing in March 2020 gave Jedrzejczyk a different perspective on her career as well as her value to the UFC.

That’s why she’s been much more adamant about the money being earned in her fights because even without the UFC title around her waist, Jedrzejczyk remains one of the most popular athletes on the entire roster.

“I feel like I deserve a bigger piece of the cake,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I don’t see myself fighting out of the UFC but there are people who are interested in having me, putting big money on the table. It’s big. I’m a UFC soldier.

“I feel like I sell the pay-per-views but I don’t get any points anymore. But I’m not complaining. I’m not the champ anymore but I feel like I deserve a little bit more. I will discuss this at the table with Dana, with the matchmakers, I feel good. I want to be back to the UFC octagon soon.”

Typically speaking only champions are guaranteed pay-per-view bonuses in the UFC, although there have been numerous fighters in the past who have negotiated that as part of a contract including former two-division champion Conor McGregor as a prime example.

With hopes to compete in potential rematches against Namajunas, Zhang or possibly Carla Esparza as soon as March or April, Jedrzejczyk knows that concession would be the easiest way to ensure her return to the UFC sooner rather than later.

“If I get pay-per-view points again, I will be happy,” Jedrzejczyk said. “Because I sell. I’m not complaining. I will sit at the table and talk.”