Joanna Jedrzejczyk is leaving the door open for a potential return to the UFC, and her training partner Mayra Bueno Silva is constantly trying to convince her to re-enter the octagon.
Speaking on this week’s Trocação Franca, Silva said Jedrzejczyk is one of the hardest workers she’s ever seen at American Top Team, and that gives her hopes that the former UFC strawweight champion would be back one day.
“It’s so crazy, she trains like she’s still the champion,” Silva said. “I see her every day in the gym, we train together, and she’s training like she’s still the champion. I ask her, I tell her, ‘I’m not ready yet for you to retire’. Joanna was one of the biggest inspirations at home, for Gloria [de Paula] and I.
“[I tell her] ‘We’re not ready for you to retire. Please fight at least one more time.’ And she’s always like, ‘We’ll see, we’ll see’ [laughs]. Man, she trains more than I do. When I get to the gym, she’s already there. When I leave, she’s still there. When I come back, she’s already training there.”
Jedrzejczyk came up short in her attempt to reclaim the title against Weili Zhang in 2020, losing an epic five-round split decision, and came back two years later to lose by knockout to the same opponent.
“I believe she’s still going to fight,” Silva said. “A fighter’s career is bitter, right? You spend your whole life dedicating and all of a sudden something like that happens and it’s very hard for you to overcome. But I think she’ll come back. She’s one of the greatest of all times, and a champion doesn’t stop like that.”
Meanwhile, Silva looks to build her own legacy in the sport, returning to action Saturday night against Lina Lansberg at UFC Vegas 69 for her third straight victory since moving up to bantamweight. Silva trained extensively with another high-level athlete in Kayla Harrison in 2022, and she is confident that the PFL star will return for vengeance this year after losing her trilogy bout to Larissa Pacheco.
“I think being undefeated was never her goal – her goal is to become champion,” Silva said of Harrison. “Maybe we see that loss as something positive because she’s already back [to the gym], training and looking to evolve, ready for the next one. Being next to her is wonderful, to see what a champion does and breathe the same air. She’s an example both inside and outside the cage.”
Silva has already trained with Bellator champion Cris Cyborg in the past but stays on the fence regarding a potential clash of MMA legends.
“People say they want to see Cyborg and Kayla, and ask me what do I think,” she said. “I think we would all win by watching the two best fighters fighting each other. That would be the biggest fight in women’s history. And the winner of that fight would be [the promotion] that puts it together [laughs].”