Joanna Jedrzejczyk Impressed With Weili Zhang
Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been in the news over the past few days, albeit not for reasons she would’ve wanted. We had earlier reported that the former strawweight champion had reportedly informed the UFC last week that she wouldn’t be able to cut down to the mandatory 116 lbs limit for a strawweight non-title bout. However, her opponent for UFC Tampa Michaelle Waterson has reportedly refused to fight “Joanna Violence” at catchweight. The catch? UFC reportedly promised Joanna a title fight with Weili Zhang if she beats Waterson.
Since then, both the fighters have been bombarded with the same question. Neither woman has confirmed the reports, and are insisting that they will fight this weekend. With just one more day to go, it looks likely that the main event will in fact go on as planned.
Joanna has all the reasons she would need to fight “Karate Hottie” at UFC Tampa. Jedrzejczyk previously stated that the UFC had promised her a title fight with a win over Waterson. And when asked about what she thought of Weili Zhang, Joanna had nothing but praise for the new champion.
“Yes, I’m very impressed with the new strawweight champ, and I said that she was going to win in the first round with Jessica Andrade”, Jedrzejczyk told the reporters after the open workouts (transcript via MMA Junkie). “She’s a very good fighter and in the UFC, maybe the strawweight division is the lightest division in the UFC, but definitely this division gets lots of attention and brings lots of fireworks with every fight.”
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) also spoke about Jessica Andrade not taking her time, and fighting Weili just three months after defeating Rose Namajunas. “Boogeywoman” also said that could’ve cost her the title.
“I think it’s not easy to become UFC champion, but definitely it’s more difficult to deal with all the obligations you have after becoming the champ”, Jedrzejczyk said. “And maybe Jessica Andrade, instead of taking her time, enjoying this and resting well and preparing well, she took that and that’s the point. And Weili Zhang just took her chance, and she made it to the league.”
Joanna also gave her opinion as to why we have seen the strawweight title changing hands more than any other division within the same time frame.
“Because I don’t run this division anymore”, Jedrzejczyk said. “And I was the champ for a reason and if people doubt me, I always say, OK, how many title defenses has ‘x’ strawweight champion, first, second and the third, you know? There’s Ronda Rousey from bantamweight division, six successful title defenses, and me in the strawweight (with) five, and Amanda Nunes is the GOAT right now, but if people doubt me, I say, ‘Hey, look at the numbers and how long I was holding the belt.'”
Joanna Jedrzejczyk faces Michelle Waterson this weekend at UFC Tampa. Michelle is coming off three straight wins, and a win over the former strawweight queen will put her in line for a shot at the title next.