SHANGHAI – Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s first pro MMA loss might have cost her a UFC belt, but it has in no way shaken her confidence.
Jedrzejczyk was on the losing end of one of the year’s biggest upsets, when a first-round knockout gave Rose Namajunas the 115-pound title earlier this month at UFC 217. Given the particularly rough loss, in New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden no less, few would fault the dethroned champ for needing some time to lick her wounds.
But judging by Jedrzejczyk’s chat with reporters in Shanghai, where she’s currently fulfilling guest-fighter duties ahead of UFC Fight Night 122, it seems that won’t be necessary.
“My life is better than before,” Jedrzejczyk said. “Some people, they can’t believe I’m smiling, I’m in good mood, and I’m looking forward. They think I should sleep and cry and do nothing. I do more. I’ve had more offers to work with big companies – the biggest companies everywhere than I had before.
“Because they see a human. At the end, they see a fighter. They see a professional athlete. I do my business from beginning to the end. And this is who I am. And I’m stronger.”
While Jedrzejczyk wasn’t exactly planning to come up short in her sixth attempt to defend the title she’d held since March 2015, she finds solace in a few things. The overwhelming support she’s received from her team, sponsors, her “real fans” and even the ex-minister of Poland – who was present at her fight – are among them.
The support, however, isn’t unanimous. While good-spirited and humorous in general, Jedrzejczyk has also been known to turn up the intimidation factor as fight time approaches. And, in the specific case of the recent title-costing bout, the Polish ex-champ’s jabs toward Namajunas’ mental state rubbed many the wrong way.
Add to that Namajunas’ post-fight vows to set a “good example” in MMA and the narrative pretty much writes itself.
But if you think the “accident” that took place at UFC 217 will translate to a change of attitude on Jedrzejczyk’s end, think again.
“People who are saying I was cocky or arrogant, this is why I lost,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I just want to tell you that I will be more cocky. I will be more arrogant. And I will be more loud. Because I know my value. I’m bigger than that night at UFC 217. Mistakes happen to everyone. And don’t you worry.
“But it was not a mistake. Because I didn’t do any mistakes. It was an accident. And people don’t know, I’m not going to blame it on anyone. Because I’m a classy lady. I’m a professional athlete. And I take this.”
Jedrzejczyk was ready for the title affair. Even two days before it, Jedrzejczyk says, she was in great shape – and she has her open workouts to show for it. But “something happened.” And while she won’t go into detail about it, she asks that people don’t place the blame of it on her team or in the UFC.
“It was not like a mental issue, or stress or pressure,” Jedrzejczyk said.
At the end of the day, Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) gives “big respect” to Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) for not only winning, but doing it in style. In fact, when it comes to all of the women she’s met in the octagon, Jedrzejczyk is clear in that she was never coming off a place of disrespect.
“When people say I don’t respect my opponents – I do respect them, more than 10 other fighters together,” Jedrzejczyk said. “Because I show that respect in how I work my ass hard every day in the gym. And that’s the thing. I never talk about their families. I never say bad things to my opponents.”
But, at the same time, the Polish strawweight believes that the belt she’s set on reclaiming is simply “on vacations” with the new champ.
“I’m still the champion,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I made this division. People texting me, ‘You’re not the strawweight queen anymore. You’re not Joanna champion.’ If you go the Olympics, you win the gold medal. If you flunk the Olympics four years after, you’re still a gold Olympic medalist.
“Same with the champion. I built this division. I defended my title five times. It means something.”
Now, after camp for UFC 217 and media duties, Jedrzejczyk is going to spend two months at home in her native Poland. She plans on returning to the U.S. for pre-camp in mid-January and also hinted at an exciting “big global thing” that she will be involved in, thought the former champion can’t yet give details.
When she returns to American Top Team, though, will Jedrzejczyk be preparing for a rematch?
“I’m clever, I don’t want a rematch,” Jedrzejczyk said. “What if (Namajunas) fights in February? What if she fights in March? What if she, for example, she will lose the belt? I will get the rematch. But like I said, I want my baby back. So I want to fight for the title. And this is what’s going to happen.”
To hear from Jedrzejczyk, check out the video above.view original article >>