‘I Wanted To Be The UFC Champion One More Time’

MMA news

Joanna Jedrzejczyk is likely headed for UFC’s Hall of Fame whether she likes it or not.

In June 2022 at UFC 275, the former Strawweight queenpin made her final walk to the Octagon. Fans were primed and ready for her big rematch with Zhang Weili anticipating similar chaos produced in their March 2020 classic. Instead, Zhang dominated Jedrzejczyk in the opening round with her continually improving wrestling game, finishing the Pol via second round knockout (watch highlights).

Jedrzejczyk retired immediately after the bout and still feels like she has plenty left to give to mixed martial arts (MMA) as a fighter.

“I feel so young and I feel like I could be fighting because the last camp was really the best camp of my life,” Jedrzejczyk told MMA Junkie. “It’s hard. I wanted to be the UFC champion one more time — not the Hall of Famer … not the retired old lady. It will be an honor. But we will see. Maybe they will surprise me one day, but I don’t think I’m ready to be a grandma.”

Jedrzejczyk, 35, was UFC’s second Strawweight champion and defended her title five times with an undefeated record before finally dropping the strap. Her last win came over Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision in Oct. 2019.

Ahead of her final appearance against Zhang, Jedrzejczyk signed a long new deal with UFC, ensuring she’d be stuck with the promotion for the foreseeable future.

“I thought that I was going fight more because before my last fight I signed a new deal with UFC for six fights,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I feel like it was the right decision for that moment. It isn’t easy. I always wanted to retire on my rules. I could keep doing this. I’m healthy and I have said that I want to be a businesswoman and be a mom, because the last 19 years I’ve been traveling, training, and working so hard I had no personal life. I used to say I was sacrificing, but no — I’m investing. Now I’m enjoying. We’ll see. I don’t like to do things halfway. I always go 100 percent. We will see. But being a Hall of Famer, it’s a big dream — same as being UFC champion.”

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