Former strawweight queen, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been training hard ahead of her UFC return. Pictured alongside fellow Polish UFC strawweight and former challenger to Jedrzejczyk’s title, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the two women are looking to improve each other’s skills.
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Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
The two women squared off at the historic UFC 205 card in New York. Both women entered the fight undefeated and both looked strong thus far in their UFC careers. Jedrzejczyk had previously made three defences of her belt, dominating in each and every fight. She was turning into the face of women’s MMA for the UFC. Her trash-talking, ruthless style and overall skill level had fans hooked, making her must-watch TV.
Across the octagon was the stoic, relaxed Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Not a fan of trash-talking, Kowalkiewicz was simply there to fight. Having defeated Rose Namajunas in a title eliminator four months prior to her title bout, Kowalkiewicz was understandably confident ahead of UFC 205. Importantly, she didn’t let Joanna Jedrzejczyk bully her at press conferences, face-offs or at the weigh-ins.
The fight itself played out how a lot of Jedrzejczyk’s title fights played out. She was able to keep it at range and outland her fellow Polish strawweight. Outlanding her 181-63 on total strikes, Joanna Jedrzejczyk was able to cruise to a 49-46 victory and retain her title. Despite a little bad blood leading into the fight, the two showed respect afterwards.
Since their UFC 205 bout, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz have both fallen on hard times. With a combined record of 5-9 (2-5 for Kowalkiewicz and 3-4 for Jedrzejczyk) since their New York bout, both women are out of form.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk won her next fight against Jessica Andrade, only to lose back to back fights against Namajunas and also went up to compete for the flyweight title, losing this time to Valentina Shevchenko. In her most recent bout, she put on a fight of the year contender against Zhang Weili at UFC 248, where she lost a split decision in an absolute war.
Is Joanna Jedrzejczyk ready to get back in there? You bet. Ahead of UFC 261, where the strawweight division was on show, Jedrzejczyk told MMAFighting that ‘the baddest b*tch on the planet is back’. She further stated that she wanted a title fight on her return to the octagon. Will she get one? Following the outcome of the UFC 261 co-main event, it seems unlikely, however, with Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s pull, who knows.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz is enduring a four-fight losing run, having suffered a terrible eye injury in her most recent bout. She has had over a year out of the octagon and hasn’t been anywhere near a title shot since her bout with Jedrzejczyk. She is becoming a gatekeeper to the top five, with losses to Michelle Waterson, Alexa Grasso and Yan Xiaonan. There have been rumours of a return for Kowalkiewicz, however, nothing is signed as of yet.
Ahead of both women’s potential UFC returns, it’s nice to see the two best Polish women’s strawweight putting their past differences aside and train together.
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