I know fans get upset when fighters like Urijah Faber and Holly Holm get multiple title shots, despite coming up short when the strap is on the line, but I wouldn’t be mad if Joanna Jedrzejczyk got a second crack at reigning strawweight champion Weili Zhang.
Jedrzejczyk is now 0-4 in her last four title fights.
But after watching her blinding, five-round war of attrition against “Magnum” at UFC 248 last month in Las Vegas, I can’t think of a more deserving contender. I might have previously said Rose Namajunas, but “Thug” first needs to avenge her loss to Jessica Andrade.
“People were doubting me before this fight, but show me another girl who can stand this, who can bring the pain,” Jedrzejczyk told South China Morning Post. “I feel like I cemented my legacy even more. This is what I’m proud of. So many years ago, I said ‘I want to be a legend’. People said ‘what does that mean?’ It means being someone who people are going to talk about for years. When you die, people forget you. I want to be remembered.”
Jedrzejczyk, who turns 33 this summer, suffered severe swelling on her face and head in the wake of UFC 248 and while no longterm damage is expected, there were rumblings of retirement for the power-punching Pole, who admits she already has “tons of f—king money.”
“That’s a question I ask myself every day,” Jedrzejczyk (16-4) said about retiring. “I’m not getting any younger. I’m only getting older. If I put on a hell of a performance, a hell of a war, why retire? If I was not training hard, if I was getting knocked out, if I was losing fights like a p—y, then I could retire, but I’m a warrior.”
Even without the coronavirus delay, the surgically-repaired Jedrzejczyk — like Zhang — was not expected to make her Octagon return until late 2020, or perhaps even early 2021.