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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Joanna Jędrzejczyk: UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion

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The world of women’s MMA has been on the rise throughout UFC history, with superstars such as Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey blazing the path for others to follow. However, one of the other most successful fighters in women’s history remains Polish star Joanna Jędrzejczyk.

The 35-year-old has competed in both the Strawweight and Flyweight divisions throughout her career, and she is widely regarded as one of the very best fighters in the history of the UFC.

Every fight that she stepped into the octagon to compete in was among the most popular for wagering with the top Arab sports betting sites, with Daniel Cormier also revealing that he sees Jędrzejczyk as the woman that put the strawweight division ‘on the map’.

UFC Records

As one of the most celebrated UFC stars in history, Jędrzejczyk holds a number of esteemed records in the promotion. Among those is the record for the most successful strawweight title defenses in UFC history, as the Pole successfully defended the title on five occasions.

Jędrzejczyk also holds the record for the most consecutive victories in the division with five wins, while she was also the first Polish champion in UFC history, and the first European to ever hold a women’s UFC title. Jędrzejczyk was always a prize fighter, meaning that the eyes of the world would be on the octagon when she stepped inside.

That is highlighted by the fact that she is tied for the most title fights in UFC history, and also holds the record for the most fights for the Strawweight title. Other accolades that the star holds include the fact that she has won the Performance of the Night bonus on one occasion, and the Fight of the Night accolade on three occasions.

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Early Career

Jędrzejczyk is a star that many young girls in Poland would look up to if they were looking to embark on a career in professional MMA. She made her first steps into the sport when she was a teenager after discovering Muay Thai. She perfected her craft at amateur level, and would later go on to win five gold medals at the IFMA World Muay Thai Championships. Furthermore, she would land world championships with a number of promotions, including the Muay Thai Council and World Kickboxing Network.

It wasn’t until 2012 that she switched to mixed martial arts, and she immediately made a solid impression in her debut with a unanimous decision win over Sylwia Juskiewicz. Her career would then take off with successive wins over Lily Kazak and Julia Berezikova before she scored a victory over Rosi Sexton by knockout at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 69. That performance caught the attention of the UFC, and she was snapped up by UFC President Dana White in 2014.

Strawweight Championship

Jędrzejczyk made a solid start to life in the UFC, as she landed victories over Juliana Lima and Claudia Gadelha. Those wins set up a huge showdown at UFC 185, where the Polish star came up against Carla Esparza for the Strawweight Championship. It was one of the most dominant performances that we have seen in the division, with Jędrzejczyk landing a second-round TKO win to become the first UFC champion from Poland.

The Pole then defended the title at Fight Night in June 2015 in Germany. She was as dominant as ever on that first title defense, as she scored a third-round TKO win over Jessica Penne. The win also saw her land the Fight of the Night bonus. Her dominance in the division would continue over the coming years, as she recorded unanimous decision wins over Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and Jessica Andrade.

However, her winning run ended in late 2017, as she dropped the title after a first-round loss at the hands of Rose Namajunas. In a rematch in April 2018, she was beaten by a unanimous decision. Jędrzejczyk managed to get back to winning ways in July 2018, as she scored a decision win over Tecia Torres. However, she was beaten when she made a challenge for the Flyweight title in her following bout with Valentina Shevchenko. In her most recent appearances in the octagon, she has been beaten by Zhang Welli, with the latest of those coming in the second round by TKO.

What’s Next?

It would appear as though we have seen the last of Jędrzejczyk inside the octagon, as she announced her retirement following her defeat against Welli at UFC 275. The Polish star admitted that she wants to be a ‘mom’, and that she will miss her fans. However, her legacy remains intact, as she has likely inspired the next wave of talent inside the octagon from her homeland of Poland.

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