Joanna Jedrzejczyk is ready to make a return to the Octagon, and it’s safe to say that she’ll be keeping a close eye on UFC 261’s title fight between champion Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas.
Jedrzejczyk, a former champion herself, hasn’t competed since March 2020 when she came up short in a five-round war against Weili at UFC 248 that many saw as the Fight of the Year. In her time off, Jedrzejczyk has spent time in her native Poland focusing on various business opportunities, but the 33-year-old is now ready to get back to fighting.
“I called Mick [Maynard] a few days ago, and I just told him ‘you know what the baddest b*tch on the planet is back’ so book the fight, watch this fight and tell everybody that I’m next,” Jedrzejczyk told MMAFighting.
“I was waiting for this fight. It’s COVID time, so that’s the only reason why the belt was not stripped. Because once a year, you have to defend the belt. But we’re having COVID times, but when I was the champ, I was defending this belt like crazy.”
Aside from her fight against Weili, joanna Jedrzejczyk also has a history with Namajunas, as the two have fought twice before. In their first meeting at UFC 217 in 2017, Jedrzejczyk surrendered her title after being viciously stopped in the first round. She then lost a unanimous decision to Namajunas in a rematch at UFC 223 the next year.
Since her second loss to Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk, who defended her 115-pound title five times during her reign, has gone 2-2, beating Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson and losing to flyweight titleholder Valentina Shevchenko and Weili.
While some may argue that she’s not deserving of a crack at the winner of Weili vs. Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk disagrees.
“I know there are so many people who are like ‘you lost, you have to prove it again.’ I proved it in my last fight, putting on f*cking hell of a show,” Jedrzejczyk said. “Giving the closest fight ever. That’s the thing. Fight of the year, no gender, no weights. It’s the ticket for the next title fight. That’s the thing. I just don’t want to fight for nothing anymore. That’s the thing.
“If I fight, I fight for big trophies, and I don’t have to prove it to anybody.”
Given her history with both fighters, Jedrzejczyk’s chances of landing another title shot would probably increase should Weili come out on top this weekend.
Regardless, the former champion has her sights set on regaining her throne.
“I want to get the winner of this fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I won’t stop. That’s the thing if I was losing fights by knockout or if I was losing the fights on points and the difference was big, but it’s not. I always put on a show, and the fights are very close, so I want to keep on going.”
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.