Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili fought out for the Strawweight title last Saturday in one of the greatest MMA fights the Octagon has ever seen.
But Jedrzejczyk's head coach Mike Brown shares in a chat with MMA Fighting that he could barely take in the excellence of the bout, and his entire focus was on claiming the victory and take home the belt. Even though that did not happen, he believes they had a really good chance at it and that they should definitely have a second round of the rivalry.
Mike Brown talks openly about the UFC 248 fight
Weili and Jedrzejczyk went the distance, sharing nearly 400 landed strikes between them in 25 minutes. But only one could win in the end, and that turned out to be the defending Champion Weili in a close split decision victory.
Brown shared that was quite heartbreaking to have come all this way and go back without the belt, even though it might not feel like as much of a loss given how the world reacted to the fight.
"It was a tough pill to swallow at the end. All the hard work and coming so close, but in the end, falling just short... Obviously, I knew it was an exciting fight, but I didn't look at it that way. I'm just trying to figure out what's next."
When it comes to the legitimacy of the decision, Brown agreed that it was a tough fight to score, but it was definitely not an unfair decision in the end. The two went toe-to-toe for all the five rounds, fighting with equal fervor throughout.
"I think [rounds] four and five again were similar, where I thought we were winning the rounds but by a slight margin, and I knew it could go either way... When it came down, I wasn’t sure, but I thought we had a real good shot at it."
Mike Brown on the possibility of a rematch
Despite the outcome, Brown said that it was great to hear that this was the greatest fight from the likes of Dana White and Joe Rogan. Given how the entire MMA fraternity reacted to the fight, Brown believes it is a rematch in making - and if there is anyone out there who deserves to win the belt, it is Jedrzejczyk.
"I think you have to [do the rematch]. I think that’s all there is. I think the only thing Joanna’s in this sport for is to be champion, and if it’s not for that, it’s not worth it. For her, she’s so disciplined, the weight cut is very difficult, [and] she puts herself through hell. Most athletes wouldn’t get through the weight cut.
She really is as mentally tough as anyone I’ve ever seen. It’s really impressive... So of course if that was an option, that would be a good one. The both need some time to heal up and rest their bodies, but I don’t think anything else would make any sense."
Both the fighters left the Octagon on Saturday with very prominent bruises - Jedrzejczyk with a swollen forehead and Weili with a smashed and bleeding nose among others. They were rushed to a local Las Vegas hospital soon afterwards, which kept them from appearing at the post-fight press conference.
But it was reported later that none of them sustained any critical injury. However, they were both handed two-month medical suspensions by NSAC through May 7, with no-contact allowed till April 22.Published 11 Mar 2020, 14:34 IST