In some respects, Karolina Kowalkiewicz competed for the majority of her career in Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s shadow.
That was especially evident when the two then-undefeated Polish stars duelled for the UFC women’s strawweight title at UFC 205 in New York City in 2009; a fight which Jedrzejczyk won by clear-cut unanimous decision. Kowalkiewicz hasn’t competed for UFC gold since, and perhaps one could be forgiven for thinking that she harbours a bit of resentment towards Jedrzejczyk.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth, particularly after she penned a heartfelt tribute to the recently-retired Jedrzejczyk on social media.
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“I’ve been ‘number 2’ pretty much my entire sports career,” she wrote, via translation by BJPenn.com.
“I don’t mind it, on the contrary, I’m proud of it because it’s you @joannajedrzejczyk you were and will always be number 1 for me! You are a legend, you wrote beautiful and inspiring stories. You are not only a great athlete who did even the impossible, but also a wonderful person.
“When our relationship wasn’t the best I needed help… I called you and even though you didn’t have to help me, I could count on you. You are great not only in the octagon but also in life. Now use it a handful. I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart. You were, are and will be a great inspiration.”
Jedrzejczyk announced her retirement from professional MMA last Saturday night in Singapore shortly after her second round defeat to Weili Zhang in Singapore.