Joanna Jedrzejczyk talks about Strawweight Champion Zhang Weili, her title shot and more
Winning a UFC title is not an easy task and holding onto it is arguably even more difficult. This is something former Strawweight Champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk knows all about.
With two months to go until her title fight with the reigning Champ Zhang Weili, the Polish fighter spoke to MMA Junkie about the 115-pound division, its turnover of Champions and what follows once they have the belt to themselves.
Jedrzejczyk knows how to keep a belt
Ever since the Strawweight division was initiated by the UFC in 2014, there have been five different titleholders, with only one of them successfully defending the belt more than once. Jedrzejczyk holds the record for the longest title reign in the division, with five consecutive title defenses before her loss to Rose Namajunas.
The former champion has now sounded a warning to her detractors ahead of her fight against Weili.
"Two years and eight months – almost three years. It was a long time, but people always are going to doubt me, doubt you, and they keep on doubting. But show me another one... Of course, I give all my respect to Rose Namajunas. I really like her and she beat me.
"She knocked me out, and there is no question. But Ronda Rousey – six successful title defenses. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, five. And of course, the ‘GOAT’ of women’s MMA is Amanda Nunes right now. Nobody can take my legacy away from me, and that’s the point. People can say whatever they want. I don’t care."
Jedrzejczyk also spoke about what is expected of a Champion after their coronation, including their obligations towards the company, sponsors and the media. While most fighters struggle with the demands of life outside the cage, Jedrzejczyk does not have any such problems.
With regards to her next opponent, Jedrzejczyk went on to explain how the rankings on paper do not matter once the action begins in the Octagon, before praising Weili and claiming she is happy to see a new champion in the division.
"I’m very happy for Zhang that she took her chance and she became champion. That’s it. There are more than 500 fighters in the UFC and there are only like 13 or 14 champions, so it’s a special league. If you make it once, you’re the ‘GOAT’ forever."
The fight between Jedrzejczyk and Weili will take place at UFC 248 on March 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Modified 12 Jan 2020, 20:20 IST