Joanna Jedrzejczyk open to return this year, stresses ‘everything has to be right’

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC

Earning consensus Fight of the Year accolades in her most recent Octagon outing, former UFC strawweight titleholder, Joanna Jedrejczyk has once again stressed she’s not retired, before opening the door to a return sometime this year, however, according to the Pole, “everything” has to be right before she steps foot in the Octagon again.

Following her five-round, split decision war with incumbent 115-pound titleholder, Zhang ‘Magnum’ Weili, the promotion was forced to host events to a closed gate amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with UFC Fight Night Brasilia becoming the first event to face these restrictions in March. While Jedrzejczyk is open to a return sometime this year, she noted her preference to make her return in tandem with a live audience.

There is no sport, any sport, without fans,” Jedrzejczyk told SCMP MMA reporter, Tom Taylor, recently. “You know how I interact with the people, with fans. I need that extra motivation — (an) extra battery pack, energy pack. Maybe I would (fight without fans), but I don’t want to. I want to put it on hold (and) just wait. I really, truly believe everything is going to be behind (us) soon.

Dropping her latest challenge to regain her former strawweight crown, the Muay Thai ace had earned her crack at Hebei native, Weili via a unanimous decision return to the division at UFC Fight Night Tampa in August of 2019. Clashing with former Invicta FC atomweight champion, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, Jedrzejczyk put on a vintage performance on route to a unanimous decision rout.

Turning 34-years-old in August, the Olsztyn native once more detailed her willingness to return without a gate in support, but maintained she wouldn’t panic on a decision, noting the possibility that she sits out of action until some form of normality resumes. 

(There are) very (high odds I fight in 2021), but if not, I just sit and wait,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I don’t know, I want to, but everything has to be in the right spot — so many things.” (H/T MMA Junkie)

As mentioned above, Jedrzejczyk is a former undisputed strawweight champion, and arguably the most dominant titleholder the promotion’s division has seen. Claiming the throne at UFC 185 in March of 2015, Jedrzejczyk took home a knockout win over inaugural champion, Carla Esparza, before launching successful defences against Jessica Penne, Valerie Letourneau, Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and Jessica Andrade.

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