When Ronda Rousey’s fall from mixed martial arts (MMA) royalty began in 2015 following her first-round knockout loss to Holly Holm, many began to point to her full plate outside of the cage as the reason for her downfall. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, however, is not buying it, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's’ Strawweight champion believes “Rowdy” has always been focused on MMA and wasn’t blinded by the bright lights of Hollywood.
“I know that Ronda Rousey is one of the greatest athletes in this sport,” Jedrzejczyk told MMAjunkie Radio. “And I don’t believe that she was focused more on the movies, and the commercials (and) photo shoots, than on training. I don’t believe that, because she became an Olympian medalist when she was very young, and I know that she knows what hard work means.
“So, I don’t think people should blame her for that,” continued Jedrzejczyk, who says MMA is an unforgiving sport that can give you the highest of highs and lowest of lows in the blink of an eye. “It just happened. MMA is a beautiful sport, but anything can happen. One fight, one submission, can finish the fight. And the same thing could’ve happened in my last fight, or in the past, or it might happen in my next fight.”
Jedrzejczyk earned her fifth straight title defense this past weekend (Sat. May 13, 2017) after defeating Jessica Andrade in Dallas, Texas (video highlights here), putting her one more defense away from tying Rousey at six. And while “JJ” revealed on a recent appearance on “The MMA Hour” that she’s exploring opportunities in Hollywood, fighting is still her number one priority.
“I want to be remembered as one of the best and greatest fighters and athletes from Poland, not as a celebrity, or person from the covers or photo shoots. I like to do that -– I like my media and sponsorship obligations. But, when it’s time for it, I do this. And I believe that Ronda did this the same way. People cannot say that, because they don’t know the truth. Only she knows.”
For the Polish-born champion, while tying and even surpassing Rousey’s mark will be special, she won’t compare herself to one of the greatest to step into the cage.
“Ronda Rousey, she’s still a champion to me and to so many people,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I like her so much and I cannot compare myself to one of the greatest -– (a) still living legend. But, it’s nice -– it’s good to hear. With every fight, I want to put on better and better performances, and put on great fights to show people who I am.”
While Rousey suffered her second straight knockout loss at UFC 207 to Amanda Nunes (see it), Jedrzejczyk’s win over Andrade was her fourteenth in a row to remain undefeated (14-0, 8-0 UFC).