After a 14-0 start to her career which led her to a UFC world title, Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t had much go her way since.
The Pole lost her strawweight crown to Rose Namajunas in New York in 2017, also coming up short in the eventual rematch several months later as Namajunas announced herself as an elite fighter. Since then, Jedrzejczyk has gone 2-2 in the cage — defeating Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson but losing to top class opposition in Valentina Shevchenko and Chinese star Zhang Weili, the latter of which was a contender for the best fight of 2020.
In June, more than two years after her close split decision loss, she will take on the Chinese fighter once again in what can only be described as a pivotal bout for her status as a legitimate title contender.
This time around though, Jedrzejczyk says that she is preparing for a more measured performance against Zhang.
“I need to be a bit smarter,” Jedrzejczyk said, via MMA Junkie. “I’m going to come back. I’m very happy to get my second fight with Weili Zhang and go for the belt right after.
Last fight was very close, and the decision could go either way. I felt like I did enough in the first fight. She was the champ at that time, so sometimes you have to do more to beat the champion. But I feel like I gave all I had in Vegas in March 2020, so we’re working on some things. We’re sharpening some tools.”
The identity of the current champion in the strawweight division, Carla Esparza, represents an opportunity for Jedrzejc zyk. A third fight against Rose Namajunas would likely have been a tough sell, but Jedrzejczyk first won her world title in the UFC by conclusively defeating the American on the feet in their fight back in late 2014.
Both fighters — and especially Esparza — are different commodities compared to back then but a rematch some 8 or so years after their first meeting would almost certainly be something considered by UFC matchmakers, so long as Jedrzejczyk shows off those sharpened tools against Zhang this coming June.