The fight isn’t yet official, but everyone is talking about a possible strawweight championship fight between current champ Weili Zhang and and former 115-pound queen, Joanna Jedrezjczyk, after UFC president Dana White called it a “very fun fight” on Instagram.
Zhang (20-1) defeated Jessica Andrade for the title in August. After a dominant performance many people view her as the next face of the division.
Well not so fast. Standing in her way is the former champion who ruled over the division for more than two years. In Jedrzejczyk’s last outing she looked like vintage JJ by manhandling Michele Waterson on her way to an easy win.
After seeing Jedrzejczyk’s last fight, I think she can once again sit at the throne of the strawweight division.
Here are 5 reasons why Joanna Jedrzejczyk will be your next strawweight champion.
1. The size advantage
Jedrzejczyk is big for the division. That’s no secret. Here’s the thing. Zhang has yet to face an opponent in the UFC that was taller than her and has a longer reach.
Jedrzejczyk stands at 5 feet 6 inches tall, while having a 65 and a half-inch reach. Zhang would enter that fight two inches shorter and would give up nearly three inches in reach.
Not saying Zhang is small for the division by any means, but let’s see how she handles being the smaller fighter.
2. The leg kicks
Chop at the legs. That’s what Jedrzejczyk will aim to do to any opponent. In her last fight, the former champ threw so many kicks that her foot swelled up and looked like it was broken. Luckily it wasn’t.
Zhang is fast and aggressive. What’s one way to slow her down? Kick her legs. Which strawweight is arguably the best at throwing leg kicks? Answer is…Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
3. Leg kicks aside; Jedrzejczyk is one of the best strikers in MMA
JJ is one tough chick whenever you want to engage in a striking match. Her striking is in a league of it’s own and there haven’t been too many people that can trade and bang with her.
In Jedrzejczyk’s rematch loss to Rose Namajunas, she out struck Namajunas in every round of the fight. In her loss to Valentina Shevchenko, she actually out struck Shevchenko on the feet.
Both Namajunas and Shevchenko were successful against Jedrzejczyk. Zhang would have to be able to bring something to the table like they did.
4. Big fight experience
If this fight were to take place it would only be Zhang’s fifth fight in the UFC. While she’s had nerves of steel up to this point, it’d be interesting to see how’d she do in a big time atmosphere away from China.
Jedrzejczyk is a star. Her trash talk is great and she has one of the best personalities in the sport. Not to mention she’s fought on some of the UFC’s biggest cards and she’s been in a women’s UFC record nine championship fights (this fight would number 10.)
5. It’s hard to defend the belt
One of the hardest things a fighter can do is defend the belt. Just look at this weight class for example. There have been five total champions. Looking at the previous four, Jedrzejczyk impressively defended the belt five times. The other three have a combined total of one successful defense.