Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t competed since coming up short against Weili Zhang in an epic women’s Strawweight title fight at UFC 248 (see it here), opting to sit out during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. But the former division champion seems to be ready to dust off the old gloves and climb back into the Octagon.
Before she even considers a return, there are a few things she would like to see happen. For starters, Jedrzejczyk wants the promotion to start allowing fans back into the venues when the coronavirus outbreak is under control.
“There is no sport, any sport, without fans,” Jedrzejczyk said in a recent interview with SCMP MMA (via MMA Junkie). “You know how I interact with the people, with fans. I need always extra motivation – [an] extra battery pack, energy pack. Maybe I would [fight without fans], but I don’t want to. I want to put it on hold [and] just wait. I really, truly believe everything is going to be behind [us] soon.”
Furthermore, the Polish-born fighter would also like to see a bit more zeros on her paycheck, saying that while she doesn’t want to sound like every other fighter asking for a raise, she wants to speak out because she deserves it.
“I don’t want to hear me like a crazy person, but it’s a business,” Jedrzejczyk said. “There must be money behind it. I put on a hell of a fight last time. I was the co-main event, but I felt like me and Weili were the [real] deal on the show – and with the main event.… We put on a hell of a show, and I deserve more money. I deserve a bigger piece of the cake. I don’t want to complain like the other fighters. There are more than 500 fighters, but I’m a big part of this company,” she added, before saying she plans to make her voice (and demands) be heard at the negotiating table with UFC higher-ups.
“I’ll talk at the table. I always do that. I’m not complaining. I’m very happy with the UFC as always, but I feel like people love me. With the belt or without the belt, they love me. I just want to keep on doing this for them. I keep hearing this, ‘She’s retired. She’s retired – this, that.’ I’m not retired, I’m just taking my time. I used to fight two or three times a year. No more. I want to take care of myself, my body, my mind,” she said.
On top of those two requests, Jedrzejczyk says she would like to return to face the winner of a potential title fight between current champion, Zhang, and Rose Namajunas, both of whom have wins over her.
“The is still the case [wanting title shot] — I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. That’s it.”
At the end of the day, Joanna says she plans on being very patient when it comes to her return, which means if things don’t line up she could continue to sit out for an extended period of time.