Joanna Jedrzejczyk Makes Bold Promise For Next Year

Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is staying positive after being finished by Rose Namajunas at UFC 217 on Saturday, November 4th in New York at Madison Square Garden. The finish of the bout saw Jedrzejczyk being swarmed by a barrage of strikes at 3:03 of the first round. As a result of this […]

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Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is staying positive after being finished by Rose Namajunas at UFC 217 on Saturday, November 4th in New York at Madison Square Garden.

The finish of the bout saw Jedrzejczyk being swarmed by a barrage of strikes at 3:03 of the first round. As a result of this loss, she lost her title.

Now, the Polish fighter is promising the MMA community that she will be champion again next year.

“In May, I will be champion again,” Jedrzejczyk said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll. “Mark my words. May, I’m coming back. It doesn’t matter if Rose is going to hold the belt or not — I will be back in May and mark my words.”

Although she lost the fight, the former UFC champion is still oozing with confidence. In her mind, she is still the rightful champion.

Going into this fight, Jedrzejczyk was attempting to tie former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s UFC record six consecutive title defenses for a female champion.

By looking back at the early betting odds, Jedrzejczyk entered UFC 217 as a sizable 6-1 betting favorite.

“I’m the greatest, and for myself, I’m still the champion,” she said. “This is just another part in the movie. She can take the belt, but I am still the champion, you know? I’m coming back. I’m coming back really soon. I’m not going to cry, I want to talk to people about that. There is something about me, there is something in my body, and nobody have it.”

Jedrzejczyk believes she is deserving of a rematch with the newly crowned champion due to her accomplishments in the sport. She also pointed out that UFC President Dana White hugged her and offered some words of encouragement after the fight.

“I believe, for what I have done for Dana and the UFC, I deserve the rematch. I will see. I saw Dana on the way back from the press conference,” Jedrzejczyk said. He hugged me, I wanted to leave him, but he was like, ‘Please, stop, I love you so much, we love you and nothing change. We love you even more for this, and your comeback is going to be bigger than all of this.’”

“For myself, I turned the page, and I felt like, ‘your comeback is going to be bigger than all of these records and bigger than this.’”

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk: ‘In May, I Will be Champion Again Mark my Words’

Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t let her stunning title loss impact her confidence. At UFC 217, Jedrzejczyk defended the strawweight title against Rose Namajunas. She was just one win away from tying Ronda Rousey’s record for most successful UFC t…

Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t let her stunning title loss impact her confidence. At UFC 217, Jedrzejczyk defended the strawweight title against Rose Namajunas. She was just one win away from tying Ronda Rousey’s record for most successful UFC title defenses by a female. Instead, Namajunas captured the gold with a first-round TKO finish. While a new […]

Rose Namajunas Doesn’t Believe Joanna Jedrzejczyk Deserves Rematch

Rose Namajunas isn’t too enthusiastic about the idea of Joanna Jedrzejczyk getting a title rematch. At UFC 217, Namajunas stunned the mixed martial arts (MMA) world with her first-round finish of Jedrzejczyk. The former champion was just one win …

Rose Namajunas isn’t too enthusiastic about the idea of Joanna Jedrzejczyk getting a title rematch. At UFC 217, Namajunas stunned the mixed martial arts (MMA) world with her first-round finish of Jedrzejczyk. The former champion was just one win away from tying Ronda Rousey’s record for most UFC title defenses by a female. During a […]

New UFC Champ Rose ‘Thug’ Namajunas Is Not Your Usual Fighter

Mixed martial arts is known for many things.
Violence. More blood than most people can stomach. Awful T-shirts. Real bad tattoos. Passionate/drunk fans. Dana White and Joe Rogan screaming at you: This is the biggest fight ever and you’d just be st…

Mixed martial arts is known for many things.

Violence. More blood than most people can stomach. Awful T-shirts. Real bad tattoos. Passionate/drunk fans. Dana White and Joe Rogan screaming at you: This is the biggest fight ever and you’d just be stupid not to order it, and you know we’re telling you the truth because our faces are so red.

Of all the things the sport is known for, subtlety is not one.

Life is full of shades of gray, of differing and wholly unique personalities and traits and relationships.

Mixed martial arts? Fighters seem to fall into one of two personality traits: Conor McGregor or boring.

And who can blame them? One look at the riches McGregor’s brash and outlandish promotional style has wrought, and it’s enough to make anyone consider taking the same path.

You can talk and say ridiculous things, or you can be respectful and never meet the same heights of superstardom. And forget about padding your bank account.

Which is why it was such a breath of fresh air to see 25-year-old Rose “Thug” Namajunas win the UFC women’s strawweight title last week. Namajunas, from her shorn locks to her anti-MMA demeanor, is more than just a new title-holder. She’s a superstar in the making and an immensely unlikely one.


 

Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a terrifying cyclone of sharp and pinprick-accurate limbs.

The first time I saw her doing her thing was at a media workout before her fight with Carla Esparza in Dallas a few years ago. The impression I left the gym with that day was: “Oh my God, this is the most terrifying person that’s half my size on this entire planet.”

And she was. Jedrzejczyk brutalized Esparza and took the championship, and she never looked back. But somewhere along the way, “Joanna Champion” became more than just a fun nickname. She started believing her own hype, which is easy to do when you’re obliterating all your peers.

Jedrzejczyk said a lot of hurtful things about Namajunas in the lead-up to their fight on November 4. Jedrzejczyk forgoes the standard MMA trash-talk bible and goes straight for the psychological jugular. During the conference call on October 25 to promote the fight, Namajunas spoke of how she believed her challenge could help promote mental health awareness.

“My dad died and he wasn’t in my life because he had schizophrenia, so it’s been something that my entire family has been fighting against since I can remember,” Namajunas said. “So this fight means a lot to me, and it’s not just about the belt. It’s more than that, and I just want to inspire other people to f–king do whatever the f–k you want to do, and do what makes you happy, and be a good person, and you can overcome anything.

“I’ve overcome some demons in my path, and just, every day I wake up and I’m f–king champion, so that’s just my mindset all of the time, and that’s something that—I think this fight could be a great PSA announcement for mental health awareness.”

Jedrzejczyk’s retort was as unexpected as it was brutal.

“How do you want to be a champion and deal with all of these things? You know what? You are not stronger mentally,” she said. “You are mentally unstable and you are broken already, and I will break you in the fight.”

Not exactly your typical pre-fight banter. Jedrzejczyk kept up the onslaught up to and throughout fight week, leading to an unforgettable visual during the public ceremony of Namajunas praying on stage, her eyes closed tightly, as Jedrzejczyk stood in her face and told her she planned on taking her soul the next day.

Pride goeth before a fall. And Jedrzejczyk fell. Hard.


 

The great irony of Namajunas’ win at UFC 217 starts with the way it actually happened: Namajunas did it using Jedrzejczyk’s own best tools against her.

Namajunas didn’t go in the Octagon and take Jedrzejczyk down and submit her. That would’ve been an impressive thing, but it could never hold a candle to what actually happened.

Jedrzejczyk has never been untouchable on her feet; she takes more strikes than you might realize. But she’s a survivor, always able to inflict more damage on her opponents than they on her.

Namajunas has never been known as a striker. Her best career moments have always come from grappling.

And yet, Namajunas stood in front of the world champion and beat her senseless with her hands and feet. She dropped her to the canvas multiple times and then finished her by knocking her to the canvas and then pounding her into submission.

Jedrzejczyk said she would mentally break Namajunas and insinuated that she wasn’t stable enough to mentally handle the pressure.

Instead, it was Jedrzejczyk who ended up folding under the weight of the moment.

There is no shame in tapping to strikes, as Jedrzejczyk did. A fighter’s long-term health is more valuable than many athletes even recognize. Anyone who senses they are taking damage with no way to recover must be applauded for recognizing it and doing something about it.

And yet there was something deliciously ironic about the moment unfurling the way it did.

Namajunas didn’t break. She did the breaking.


 

In 2014, I profiled Namajunas for Bleacher Report. I asked her coach Trevor Wittman what he believed Namajunas’ greatest strength was. Grappling? Athleticism?

No, Wittman said. It was her mental strength.

“You can win with technique. But with the mental aspect, you can reach greatness,” Wittman said. “It’s so cool to see her cry before a fight because she can look at herself in the mirror. She understands that fear is a natural thing in this sport. But she turns fear into belief.”

If Thug Rose goes on to become a genuine megastar—if she follows in the footsteps of Ronda Rousey and finds herself a genuine mainstream attraction—it won’t be the knockout of Jedrzejczyk that sent her there.

It won’t even be found in the minutes after Jedrzejczyk yielded when Dana White draped Namajunas’ new belt over her shoulder and she allowed joyful tears to flow, even if only for a moment. Joe Rogan cornered Namajunas for the typical post-fight interview we’re used to seeing, but it was anything but typical:

Rogan: I’m at a loss for words. That was unbelievable. The winner and new UFC strawweight champion of the world: Rose Namajunas. How does that sound to you?

Namajunas: Man, it sound like buttah. Sound like buttah.

Rogan: Does this even feel real?

Namajunas: No. It feels like a movie right now.

Rogan: There was so much tension and so much emotion leading up to this fight. The weigh-ins, she was saying all kinds of crazy stuff to you. And you were reciting the Lord’s Prayer. What was going through your mind when all this was happening?

Namajunas: There’s so much crap going on in the media, news and stuff. And I just want to try and use my gift of martial arts to try and make this world a better place. Change the world. This belt don’t mean nothing, man. Just be a good person. That’s it. This is extra. This is awesome, but let’s just give each other hugs and be nice, man. I know we fight, but this is entertainment. And afterwards, it’s nothing.

And that is the perfect illustration of why Namajunas is so refreshing, and why she has the kind of star potential promoters dream about, and why it’s likely we’re still in the first few chapters of a story that might just reach incredible heights.

She didn’t comment on the things Jedrzejczyk said about her, though she would have been perfectly within her rights to do so. She didn’t gloat. She didn’t fawn over herself.

“Be a good person,” she said. Let’s just give each other hugs and be nice.

It’s an earnest and simple message. We are highly politicized. Our differences have divided us so greatly that it’s difficult to imagine reconciliation. Social media is a wasteland of snark. Anger is our default setting.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Especially in mixed martial arts. Not everyone needs to be Conor McGregor. We don’t need another Colby Covington, with his penchant for xenophobic comments. We don’t need another super bro like Mike Perry. We have more than enough negativity in our sport.

Thankfully, we have one Rose Namajunas, and she’s the opposite of what we usually get in MMA.

And though she may not be able to offset all the negativity on her own, we’re still pretty lucky that she’s around to try.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

Rose Namajunas Says Joanna Jedrzejczyk Doesn’t Deserve A Rematch

Add newly-crowned UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas to the list of new champions from last week’s UFC 217 who don’t think the former champ deserves a rematch. Following a one-sided, trash talk-filled buildup from formerly dominant champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk heading into the fight, Namajunas demolished the Polish striking master only 3:03 into the first […]

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Add newly-crowned UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas to the list of new champions from last week’s UFC 217 who don’t think the former champ deserves a rematch.

Following a one-sided, trash talk-filled buildup from formerly dominant champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk heading into the fight, Namajunas demolished the Polish striking master only 3:03 into the first round, dropping her with a massive left hook and follow-up ground shots until referee John McCarthy called the bout a KO victory for ‘Thug’ Rose. But it also appeared that Jedrzejczyk tapped due to the onslaught, something she later denied strongly.

As she was attempting to tie Ronda Rousey’s record for most consecutive female title defenses at UFC 217, Jedrzejczyk wants an immediate rematch with Namajunas. The new titleholder doesn’t agree, however, stating on this week’s The MMA Hour that the win was so clear, so without controversy, that she couldn’t see how Jedrzejczyk deserved it right now:

“I don’t think so,” Namajunas said. “I don’t know how that could … anything is possible, right? A first-round knockout and she tapped due to strikes. Even though she was still stumbling afterwards, there was still some part of her that tapped. Not a fluke.”

As for whom her next opponent will be, Namajunas said she hasn’t really thought about it, but noted there was a division full of contenders. Instead, she was understandably still focused on unwinding from the biggest match of her life while enjoying her friends and family:

“I thought about the idea of the rest of the division and I wonder who’s gonna call me out and things like that,” Namajunas said. “But I haven’t really thought about who I want to fight yet, no. All I’ve been thinking about the next step — other than decompress, things like that and have a little fun and see the rest of my friends and family — is just making sure our team is tight and solid.”

So while it’s true Jedrzejczyk may have been and still be the most dominant competitor in women’s strawweight history, none of her fights ended in as brutal or shocking a fashion as Namajunas’ lopsided destruction of her did.

Perhaps “Joanna Champion” needs to work her way back up the ladder, where a title shot may await her after one or two more quality wins.

As for Namajunas, she’s going to let the elation of being champion sink in.

After all, she’s earned it.

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UFC 217 Medical Suspensions: Cody Garbrandt Avoids Long Stint

With every decision comes a consequence and for those fighters who took part in battle at UFC 217, it’s their time to faces those consequences in the form of medical suspensions. UFC 217 took place on Saturday, November 4th in New York at Madison Square Garden. The main card aired on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. […]

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With every decision comes a consequence and for those fighters who took part in battle at UFC 217, it’s their time to faces those consequences in the form of medical suspensions.

UFC 217 took place on Saturday, November 4th in New York at Madison Square Garden. The main card aired on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET while the preliminary card aired on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET and the promotion’s streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, at 7 p.m. ET.

Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre for the UFC middleweight title served as the main event. Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw for the UFC bantamweight title served as the co-main event. Rounding out this stacked five bout main card was Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas in a strawweight title bout, Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal in a welterweight bout, and Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Borrachinha in a middleweight bout.

Some of the more notable suspensions include Aleksei Oleinik and Aiemann Zahabi got 90-day medical suspensions. St-Pierre, Thompson, and Mickey Gall got 45-day suspensions. Garbrandt and Bisping only got 30-days.

Here are the entire medical suspensions:

Aleksei Oleinik: 90-day medical suspension

Aiemann Zahabi: 90-day medical suspension

Corey Anderson: 60-day medical suspension

Georges St-Pierre: 45-day medical suspension

Stephen Thompson: 45-day medical suspension

Mickey Gall: 45-day medical suspension

Michael Bisping: 30-day medical suspension

Cody Garbrandt: 30-day medical suspension

Joanna Jedrzejczyk: 30-day medical suspension

Johny Hendricks: 30-day medical suspension

Paulo Borrachinha: 30-day medical suspension

Joe Duffy: 30-day medical suspension

Mark Godbeer: 30-day medical suspension

T.J. Dillashaw: Seven-day medical suspension

Rose Namajunas: Seven-day medical suspension

Jorge Masvidal: Seven-day medical suspension

James Vick: Seven-day medical suspension

Walt Harris: Seven-day medical suspension

Ovince Saint Preux: Seven-day medical suspension

Randy Brown: Seven-day medical suspension

Curtis Blaydes: Seven-day medical suspension

Ricardo Ramos: Seven-day medical suspension

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