LOS ANGELES — There was a time, not too long ago, when Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade were friendly. Not quite friends, but they shared a manager and had sparring sessions.
“I know Jessica for a while,” Jedrzejczyk explained Thursday at a UFC 211 media lunch in Century City. “We’ve been kind of friends. Friends may be a bit too much — we were colleagues. Is that a good word? We used to train together sometimes, we used to do some crazy things when I was at the fights when she fought or when I fought. We used to have good times, many good times.”
Now, the two will be opposite one another in the Octagon. Jedrzejczyk will defend her women’s strawweight title against Andrade in the co-main event of UFC 211 on May 13 in Dallas. Jedrzejczyk said she did learn some things from sparring Andrade, though she acknowledges an actual fight is a totally different animal.
“That I can submit her and I can knock her out,” Jedrzejczyk said when asked what she gleaned. “But the fight is different. It was in the past. Jessica is a very dangerous opponent. She drops from 125. She’s very strong in the strawweight division.”
There is a bit of tension between the two women. Andrade has said some things in the press that Jedrzejczyk hasn’t been too happy about and the Polish striker believes they were facilitated by her former manager (and Andrade’s current manager) Tiago Okamura of SuckerPunch Entertainment. Still, Jedrzejczyk said there is no hard feelings.
“Everything is good,” she said. “Jessica says a few things, but I know she cannot speak English very well, so probably it was Tiago, who used to be my manager and friend. The thing is, I don’t mind. It’s all about the fight. Like I said, we used to train together, spar together a little bit. But it’s all about this fight.”
Jedrzejczyk (13-0) has four title defenses and is the second most tenured champion in the UFC after Demetrious Johnson. She said she’s gunning for Ronda Rousey’s record for most UFC title defenses in a women’s division (six). The fight with Andrade is business, not personal, Jedrzejczyk said. It isn’t the same as Jedrzejczyk’s long feud with Claudia Gadelha.
At the same time, Andrade has made comments about Jedrzejczyk. She criticized Jedrzejczyk’s punching power to FloCombat this week. On Thursday, Jedrzejczyk laughed it off, but was mostly serious in her response.
“They always want to talk,” Jedrzejczyk said. But I let my fists talk in the Octagon. Jessica didn’t face someone tough like me. I let her taste the power of my fist. That’s the thing.”
It’s Jedrzejczyk’s hope that she and Andrade can be civil before the fight and after it. However, she won’t know for sure until she gets to Dallas and experiences fight week. Jedrzejczyk is known for being one of the intense fighters in the UFC in terms of her staredowns.
How Andrade responds is up in the air. Jedrzejczyk said she feels like the Brazilian slugger is “different” than she used to be.
“I know that people are getting a little too crazy,” Jedrzejczyk. “When they have a chance to deal with the big media or big events. I heard a few things from Jessica. I know she’s a different person. I’m calm. I hope we’re gonna have a good relationship before the fight, after the fight. That she’s not gonna get crazy before this fight. Because becoming a challenger, it’s a pretty big deal for everyone. But it’s not easy to become a champion and deal with it. It’s even more difficult than just being a fighter or a challenger.”
Source:: mma fighting