After attempting to win gold at women’s flyweight in December, former women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk plans to return to the division she once dominated.
At UFC 231, Jedrzejczyk fought Valentina Shevchenko for the then-vacant UFC women’s flyweight title, losing by a unanimous decision. This makes Jedrzejczyk 1-3 in her last four fights.
“I will go down to 115,” Jedrzejczyk said at a media scrum ahead of UFC 234. “I need some time to refresh my body, refresh my mind and I feel the fire. People define me as an athlete after my victory or lost fights, but I put on great camps. Before my last camp I was quality over quantity, but I did both. I’ve been working really hard for the last few years and I will be back stronger.”
After winning the UFC’s 115-pound title back in March 2015 at UFC 185, bringing her to 9-0 in her professional career, Jedrzejczyk made five successful title defenses before losing to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217 — MMA’s biggest upset of 2017. The two rematched at UFC 223 back in April, with Namajunas taking a decision win.
Prior to the fight with Shevchenko, Jedrzejczyk scored a decision win over Tecia Torres in a July 2018 strawweight bout.
While Jedrzejczyk admits she wasn’t as well-prepared for the bigger weight class and UFC 231 clash, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fight Shevchenko for a title. Shevchenko outstruck and outworked Jedrzejczyk over five rounds.
“I am very happy that I could face Valentina Shevchenko and I didn’t feel the power of her punches, but definitely I felt her clinch,” Jedrzejczyk said. “That’s the thing: That fight with Valentina went on and off, on and off so I didn’t have time to prepare physically for this fight. In the clinch she was super, super strong. My takedown defense is very good, but it was like a body lock.
I’m proud of myself, I did good. She didn’t smash my face, but definitely if I want to compete at 125 I need to put muscle on and build the power. I couldn’t do that with Valentina Shevchenko because I had still planned to go to 115.
Since the loss, she’s taken two months away from the gym at the advice of Mike Brown, coach at American Top Team. She will begin training when she returns home to Poland, and she will be watching Namajunas’ title defense against Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 closely. Jedrzejczyk wants to face the winner, but she is preparing in case she has to go through another contender to get a shot at regaining the title once again.
“I was getting mad at Rose,” Jedrzejczyk said. “Of course she’s the champ, but I was a busy champion. You cannot wait. You must defend your belt once in a year and I’m very happy I heard about this fight is happening. Definitely I want to go to Brazil and watch this fight. 99 percent I will go to Brazil to watch this fight live.
This division is the lightest in the UFC but it’s definitely one of the strongest. I don’t know who is next…I want to fight for the belt. I might have one fight before but I want to fight for a belt.
Original Story: MMAJunkie