Joanna Jedrzejczyk Feels Great After The Gruelling Fight With Zhang
Last weekend, Zhang Weili successfully defended her UFC strawweight title at UFC 248, after beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk via a razor close split decision, in what was one of the best fights we have ever seen inside the Octagon.
It was an intense 25 minute war with an extraordinary output from both fighters, who combined a total of 351 significant strikes. Making it the third most significant strikes thrown in any UFC fight. 186 of these were thrown by Jedrzejcyzk, who broke the record for the most ever thrown by a UFC fighter in a loss.
A few days on from the incredible co-main event, Jedrzejcyzk told MMA Fighting that she is feeling great again.
“I feel great, I’m trying to relax as much as I can with my family. Last night was the first time I slept more than three hours. Those first few nights I only slept like three hours. It’s usually like this after the fight. My friends were here, my family, we were hanging out. On Friday, I fly back home. I cannot wait to get back home and relax with my family and friends. I feel great.”
Despite the loss, the Polish fighter will be remembered for her excellent performance in Las Vegas, but also for the huge hematoma on her forehead that temporarily changed her appearance.
“The swelling is going down. The UFC took really good care of me. I met with the doctor on Monday. Everything is fine. I have a small surgery on Monday in my ear in my Poland with one of the best plastic surgeons in the business. I have a cauliflower [ear] so they drained it at the E.R. right after the fight. It looks very bad. So that’s it. I’m waiting on the swelling to go down. It will probably take a few more days but it’s getting better everyday. After that, I will do some exams again just to make sure everything is OK but so far, so good.”
With everything looking better physically now, Jedrzejcyzk was able to assess her performance on Saturday night.
“I know that the fight was very close, the fight was close every round. It was back and forth. I ask myself, I questioned myself during the fight ‘Joanna, can you do better?’ and of course I’m going to watch this fight and see things I could do better. I’m like this after every training. If the plan was good, I’m always like no, it can be better. You can fix this and that and make this a different way. Probably after this fight there’s going to be so many ideas that I can get for the next fight, for the next camp. You can always do something better.
“I questioned myself in the fight. Standing in front of Zhang, you’re doing everything you can and you did everything you could, physical, mental, the weight cut, I did my best. That’s why I did so on Saturday. It was not luck. I worked so hard.”
Jedrzejczyk remains proud of her performance against Zhang, regardless of the judges’ decision on the night.
“Honestly, I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Jedrzejczyk said about the decision. “After what happened in the second fight with Rose [Namajunas], it was really close. That night I did my best and I’m proud of myself. I don’t care what people are saying. I did my best. Before when I was the champ and I was so dominant, I did the same thing in my head. Go there and do your best. It doesn’t matter if you win or if you lose, go there and do your best. I always want to put on entertaining fights for my fans.”
While there was a little bit of trash talking going into UFC 248, Jedrzejcyzk has nothing but respect for Zhang now after sharing the Octagon with her for a gruelling 25 minutes.
“We got into a war. We went five rounds, a real championship war,” Jedrzejczyk said. “She didn’t surprise me with anything. Her cardio was good. She’s a very tough bitch and I mean bitch in a good way. She’s a very tough opponent. She’s a tough character. She doesn’t give up. We Polish people are the same. We go to the end. She can handle punches. She can get punched and me the same way.
“I said that before the fight at the weigh-ins that it was going to be the best fight in the UFC strawweight history and it happened. Not only that, it was one of the best fights in the UFC history.”
Although Jedrzejcyzk left the Octagon without the belt, the former champion says she doesn’t need the physical belt to feel like a champion.
“Honestly, it was my big dream to become the UFC strawweight champion but the way I carry myself since I had the belt, and how hard I was working before that fight, that’s why I showed up that good for the fight, I don’t need the belt to be the champ.
“Of course, I set my ambitions, I want to have this belt physically but I’m not crazy about it. I was there. It’s all about the legacy. That’s the thing. I was there. People can doubt me. They can say whatever they want but they do not know what they are talking about. That’s the point.”
When asked about the possibility of a rematch with Zhang, Jedrzejcyzk responded positively, but stated that relaxation and recovery need to come first.
“Sure why not? If she’s going to be the champ, why not? I want to face the best. I might consider doing this again. Right now, I just want to go home and relax. I don’t want to think about my next move, my next fight. I don’t want to think about the future yet. I need the time off to be myself but I’m fine. I’m strong. I keep my head up. Of course the expectations are very high but like I said, it’s not just about having the belt physically. I’m very proud of myself. My job is to be one of the best athletes and I am one of the best in the world.”
What do you think about the possible rematch between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk?