In the months since UFC 217, former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has attributed at least a portion of the blame for her stunning loss to Rose Namajunas on a weight cut gone terribly wrong.
Jedrzejczyk said that she experienced numbness in her legs on fight day after losing 15 pounds in 14 hours in a botched weight cut led by her former nutritionist team, Perfecting Athletes. Jedrzejczyk ultimately cut ties with Perfecting Athletes a month after losing her title via first-round knockout at the hands of Namajunas at UFC 217.
The two strawweights have since been scheduled to rematch on April 7 at UFC 223, and Namajunas’ teammate in Denver, top-ranked UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje, believes it’s a positive sign for “Thug Rose” that Jedrzejczyk has already landed on an excuse for why things went wrong for her at Madison Square Garden.
“I don’t know her or what happened to her, so I can’t judge her for it. I think she’s weak-minded for saying it, even if it is true,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting. “It’s her own business. And no matter what, it could be true to the core and you could have proof, who’s going to [care]? Like, I’m not going to support you. Okay, whose fault was it? At the end of the day, whose fault was it? It was your fault. Do you have a scale at your house? Then you get to step on the scale every single morning, just like every single one of us do. We worry about our weight the whole camp, and I’ve never had a nutritionist help me in my entire life.
“I made weight in college eating McDonalds every day. It’s willpower. You either f*cking do it or you don’t do it. Like, the nutritionist does not cut the weight for you. And yeah, it could be detrimental to your performance, so if she did cut a tremendous amount of weight, then I’m sure that she suffered tremendously, and I am excited to see Rose fight the best Joanna whenever she doesn’t f*ck up and f*ck her weight cut up.”
Gaethje, who fights Dustin Poirier on April 14 in the main event of UFC on FOX 29, went on to clarify what he meant when he called Jedrzejczyk’s comments “weak-minded.”
“Because she knows that Rose cut weight,” Gaethje explained. “She knows that Rose made weight. And at the end of the day, it is an excuse. Even if it’s fact, it’s still an excuse, because it was still her fault. So, I mean, as a wrestler — I’m not calling Joanna weak-minded, I’m saying that statement is weak-minded.”
Namajunas, 25, overcame her own daunting odds at UFC 217. The TUF 20 finalist closed as as overwhelming betting underdog to Jedrzejczyk, with some oddsmakers listing Jedrzejczyk as high as an eight-to-one favorite once fight night rolled around. Namajunas shocked the world though, triumphing over Jedrzejczyk’s ever-present mind games and vanquishing the record-breaking former champion in her own realm: The stand-up game.
So while Gaethje acknowledged that anything can happen in a volatile sport like mixed martial arts, he is confident that even if Jedrzejczyk fixes her weight-cutting issues at UFC 223, there will be bigger factors that lead to lightning striking twice for Namajunas.
“It’s a fight. [Jedrzejczyk] is one of the highest-level fighters in that weight class in the world,” Gaethje said. “Anybody in the top-five can beat each other on any given night in this sport. So I think she has a possibility (to win), but I don’t think — she can’t just go and change her whole (style). She can’t change the way her feet move. And Rose beat her because of the way her feet move, because she could time the way her feet move, and Rose is going to do the same thing with her feet.
“She’ll get her reaching, and then she’ll get her overreaching, then she’ll come in while she’s overreaching and capitalize. There’s no other way for it to go.”