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Zhang: ‘Joanna Jedrzejczyk not as good as when she was UFC champion’

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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, once considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, has slipped all the way to No. 5 at 115 pounds, thanks to consecutive losses to former titleholder, Rose Namajunas.

And that flyweight defeat to Valentina Shevchenko certainly didn't help her image.

That might be why current strawweight champion, Weili Zhang, believes Jedrzejczyk is not the same fighter who was ripping through the 115-pound weight class without pause, racking up wins over the likes of Jessica Andrade and Claudia Gadelha, just to name a few.

“Joanna is a very good striker, she has very fast hand speed,” Zhang said through her interpreter. “But right now, she’s not as good as when she was champion. If Michelle (Waterson) has the right game plan, she can win this fight as well.”

Prior to getting pierced by “Bullet,” Jedrzejczyk (15-3) was able to take a unanimous decision win over Tecia Torres in summer 2018. She’ll return to the strawweight division to battle No. 7-ranked Michelle Waterson in the UFC Tampa main event next month on ESPN+.

As for the once-beaten Zhang (20-1), she’s already talking about the possibility of a Shevchenko super fight of her own, but will probably have to instead settle for the winner of Jedrzejczyk vs. Waterson at some point in early 2020.