Claudia Gadelha hopes for one more contest with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but she isn’t holding her breath for it.
During the rise of the Strawweight division led by Jedrzejczyk from March 2015 to Nov. 2017, the biggest rival for the champion was undeniably Brazil’s Gadelha, who she defeated to earn her first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title shot. Famously known for being a supremely controversial split decision, Gadelha received her opportunity at redemption in July 2016 after coaching opposite her Polish foe on The Ultimate Fighter 23 (TUF).
Gadelha once again came up short, this time by unanimous decision (watch highlights) after starting incredibly strong, utilizing her grappling advantages to smother the then-champion. In the end, the score was settled between the two despite some bad blood still existing.
Now living her life post-MMA, Gadelha wishes a third fight could have come to fruition.
“I’d really have liked to do a third fight with Joanna — a lot, a lot,” Gadelha told MMA Fighting. “I think those two fights were really close, and I would’ve loved to have fought her a third time. I don’t regret not doing it. ... But it would make me happy if it happens in jiu-jitsu. I don’t think she’d agree to it. It will just linger in the air, really.”
Gadelha (18-5) retired from MMA competition in Dec. 2021. After her Jedrzejczyk rematch, she closed out her career going 5-3 with her final bout taking place in Nov. 2020, a unanimous decision loss to Yan Xiaonan.
As for Jedrzjeczyk, she’ll be returning from a two-year layoff next weekend (Sat., June 11, 2022) at UFC 275 when facing her last opponent, Zhang Weili.
“The idea of having a belt around my waist — I’m sure I was the best strawweight fighter who never won the UFC belt, and it was close,” Gadelha said. “The one time I fought for the belt was close, and the other times I was approaching another opportunity to fight for the title, it was also very close. I was never submitted or knocked out.”
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