Reflecting on Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s career after UFC 275

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 275, we saw a pivotal title eliminator in the strawweight division. Former strawweight champions Zhang Weili (22-3) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-5) were battling for a shot at Carla Esparza and the strawweight title.

However, this matchup was so much more than a typical title eliminator. It was a rematch from the 2020 Fight of the Year. At UFC 248, Weili and Jedrzejczyk fought to a split decision with Weili retaining her strawweight title at the time.

It was a back-and-forth classic with both fighters having major moments. The fight on Saturday night started out just the same. It looked more like a continuation other than a brand new fight. Both ladies landed big shots in the opening frame.

However, one difference this time around was the grappling of Zhang Weili. Weili was able to land takedowns and land big shots on Jedrzejczyk. Nevertheless, Jedrzejczyk fought through it and was ready to go for round 2 at UFC 275.

These two were standing toe-to-toe in the second round. Jedrzejczyk was able to keep the fight on the feet and she was just missing with huge power shots. Then, out of no where, Weili landed a massive spinning backfist that knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

The UFC legacy of Jedrzejczyk

After Bruce Buffer announced Zhang Weili the winner, Jedrzejczyk was seen taking off her gloves. She said in her post-fight interview that she worked so hard for this, but she came up short and she was ready to move on in her life. Jedrzejczyk laid down her UFC gloves and announced her retirement.

She was very emotional, but firm in her decision to call it a career. At 35 years old, Jedrzejczyk has done it all in this sport and it would be a decent trip back up the latter if she wanted to once again become champion.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk was the second UFC strawweight champion. After Carla Esparza initially won the title, Jedrzejczyk took it away in her first title defense. From there, the “Boogey Woman” successfully defended the title five times.

No other strawweight champion has more than one successful title defense in UFC history. Jedrzejczyk is in a class of her own in terms of her legacy as champion. When you think of the strawweight division, you think of Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

She lost the title to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217 and then lost the immediate rematch at UFC 223. After defeating Tecia Torres, Jedrzejczyk moved up to fight Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant flyweight title. She came up short and moved back down to 115.

After defeating Michelle Waterson, she closed her career with the two bouts against Zhang Weili. While one could point to the fact that she finished her career 2-5 in her last seven, it’s important to remember the three opponents she fought.

Without question, Jedrzejczyk is one of the greatest to do and given her lengthy run as champion, she’s the greatest strawweight in UFC history.

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