5 Key Fights In Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s UFC Career – MMA Crossfire

Former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk retired after her fight at UFC 275, but her career will continue to motivate fighters of all stripes.

Jędrzejczyk (16-5-0) retired after a TKO loss to former champion Zhang Weili and at the post-fight press conference he said it was “time to take full advantage of my life”. Well, now is the time to look back at some key fights from the future careers of UFC Hall of Famers.

These fights were important or crucial in Jędrzejczyk’s career beyond the obvious title implications. Let’s go?

It was Joanna’s first match with Brazilian Claudia Gadelha and the two would become bitter rivals. They also had contrasting styles which made their fights interesting.

Joanna had her unique Muay Thai striking style, while Gadelha used grapples and takedowns to drive her opponents to the mat. Joanna won a narrow split decision, which helped set up the title fight with Carla Esparza, but they would fight again.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna Jędrzejczyk kicks Claudia Gadelha at TUF 23. Courtesy of Zuffa LLC.

TUF 23 was one of the most interesting seasons, mainly because of Jedrzekczyk and Gadelha. JJ tried hard to ruffle Gadelha’s feathers but Team Gadelha’s success on the show ended up blowing Joanna’s top off.

Then we had the rematch in which Gadelha started fast, knocking out JJ and looking like she would make a decision. Jedrzejczyk mustered all she could to come off the deck and fend off Gadelha with her striking mark to retain the title with a hard-fought decision win.

It was a great fight for MMA and helped bring WMMA to another level in the post-Ronda Rousey era. Maybe one day this fight will enter the UFC Hall of Fame.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Joanna’s next fight was a Polish affair. A title fight between two of the best strawweights in the world, both from Poland. Kowalkiewicz at the time was an undefeated phenom whose dynamic, striking and versatile personality catapulted her into a title shot in her fourth octagon fight. Naturally, there were plenty of people watching this one to see who reigned supreme.

When the dust settled, Joanna made a clear decision. Kowalkiewicz would go on to lose to Jędrzejczyk’s rival Claudia Gadelha in her next fight. This contest determined who got Poland’s bragging rights.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

By then, the shock of Rose’s TKO victory at UFC 217 in November 2017 had all but worn off and there was a feeling that a healthy Joanna would regain the title. But it was not to be. Rose ushered in the Namajunas era by destroying the mystique of the woman who had led the division with a feared iron fist with a clear decision victory. After this fight, Joanna would struggle to get back into the title picture and explore other options.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Courtesy of UFC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.

These two have met before in Muay Thai, but now the question was whether Joanna could go to 125 pounds on short notice and knock down Valentina, who enjoyed a certain mystique and flyweight dominance. . It would surely be Joanna who would become the first female two-division champion in the UFC, even though she was physically the smallest fighter.

Jędrzejczyk failed to lose a decision, but put on a strong performance to remind everyone that she was still a great fighter. It helped restore some respect and luster after the two losses to Namajunas. Ironically, Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 later that month became the UFC’s first two-division women’s champion when as the bantamweight champion, she defeated Cris Cyborg for the featherweight crown.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Zhang Weili throw themselves at UFC 248. Courtesy of Harry How, UFCZuffa LLC/Getty Images.

This one is special for many reasons. It is considered by many fans and pundits to be the greatest UFC women’s fight of all time. The immense amount of strikes and actions elevated the sport of MMA and the status of both women. Although Jedrzejczyk didn’t claim the title with a split decision loss, the fight helped set up what we saw on Saturday at UFC 275.

So now Joanna is going into the sunset with her UFC legacy. She said she would still love to be in the sport, so maybe we’ll see her as a coach, commentator or something. In any case, no one can deny the impact that Joanna Jędrzejczyk had on combat sports and in particular on the UFC.



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