UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is gearing up for her UFC 211 title defense against Jessica Andrade. And in prep, she’s sitting down with Sub Radio to give her thoughts on being the champ.
It may not come with the fanfare of Ronda Rousey’s six bantamweight title defenses, but as UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk prepares for her fifth defense of her belt, she’s cutting a no less dominant swath through her division.
The current queen of women’s MMA and first Polish champion in UFC history has built a reputation for dominating opponents not just in the cage, but with her personality outside the ring as well. She’s no stranger to pre-fight trash talk and bullying as she looks to throw opponents off their game before they step in the cage. But, it seems me she may be taking a slightly different tactic with her latest challenger, Brazilian punching machine Jessica Andrade.
It’s not for any deference to Andrade’s skill, however, but as Jedrzejczyk explained in a recent interview with Sub Radio, she and Andrade have had a friendly relationship in the past. It’s even left Jedrzejczyk a little surprise by some of the things Andrade’s camp has been saying about her.
“Yeah, this is not nice,” Jedrzejczyk said about recent comments Andrade made about her having a ‘weak chin.’ “Like, I’ve known Jessica for a while, I’ve known Tiago (Okamura) for a while. I know that Jessica doesn’t speak English so well and so I know there is someone behind her back, posting everything and talking this and that. So probably it’s Tiago.
“You know, we used to be like good friends, like a brother and sister, so I don’t understand them. This is what I said before – when you get the title shot, when you get the chance to fight and when you have a chance to get bigger exposure, don’t go crazy, be yourself. Like, be humble and work hard and get there. So that’s the thing, now she’s talking this and that, but I’m focused on our fight.
“If you’re saying that my chin is weak,” Jedrzejczyk continued, “try to knock me out. About the fight with Karolina – she hit me to the nose and I was like, I was throwing some punches and kicks and she came with the big right hand to my nose so I was like out of balance. Of course she dropped me for a little bit, but she didn’t touch my chin. So this is what happened. And in the fight with Gadelha, the same thing. They’re sometimes hard punches. When you throw the combination, you can be out of balance and it can drop you. But definitely my chin is still okay and I don’t worry about that.”
Even despite those comments, however, it doesn’t sound like she and Andrade are any worse for wear in terms of still being friends outside the cage.
“Yes. I will not go crazy with her, I will not say like creepy stuff to her,” Jedrzejczyk revealed. “But the thing is, like I said, people get crazy sometimes and they think when they’re gonna talk more, they’re gonna get more exposure. Maybe they will, but let’s talk in the octagon on the day of the fight on March 13th in Dallas.”
And while she’s still very focused on the fight ahead of her, Joanna has her sights set on another goal as well, breaking Rousey’s record for most title defenses by a woman champion in the UFC. Rousey made it to six before losing to Holly Holm at UFC 193. Given the Jedrzejczyk is already coming up on her fifth defense and the incredibly active schedule she keeps, breaking the record may not be far off.
“Of course I would like to,” Jedrzejczyk said of breaking Rousey’s record. “I want to keep on defending my title, so I’m looking forward. It’s going to be my fifth title defence. I hope that I will fight one or two more times this year after the fight with Jessica. So definitely I want to break this record. But of course, I like Ronda Rousey and I have so much respect for her. So yeah, definitely, why not? It’s challenging.”
As for whether she’d go after Anderson Silva’s record of ten title defenses? That seems like a bit more of an open question.
“I will see. Last year – you know what, I love my family so much, so people don’t understand how much I have done for my fighting career – because like I said at the begging of the interview, that I left my fiancé and my family and my friends back in Poland. I was home last time for just for ten days and I spent seven days in Warsaw doing some media and I was back home just like for three, four days. So the thing is, I’m very happy that I have my family. They support me and they know what I went through for so many years.
“And the thing is like, last year I said that I will fight just till the end of 2017, but with the new team, with the new people, I feel like I can fight and challenge myself and learn for the next two, three, four, five years. So I don’t know if I will fight for the next two, three, four, five years or after two, three, four fights I will say, ‘okay, that’s enough, I’m very happy.’ Like I said, if I finish with fighting, I don’t know, next week, next month, next year, I will be very happy. But I cannot see myself as a free person, you know, because the fighting world, the sport is all my life. So I don’t know. It’s definitely difficult. It’s going to be a very difficult decision but I don’t know, I don’t know. I will see.”
UFC 211 is set for May 13th in Dallas Texas. The card is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Junior Dos Santos. Jedrzejczyk vs. Andrade is set for the co-main event.