Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of the highest profiled female fighters on the UFC roster currently. She has stepped up to become one of the more mainstream names from the women’s divisions since the demise of Ronda Rousey.
She currently holds a professional record of 16-3 and is known for her calculated stand up game. She is also a former UFC Women Strawweight champion.
Joanna steps back into the octagon on Sunday March 8th in the co main event at UFC 248 in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. She is set to square off against current UFC Women Strawweight champion Weili Zhang who looks to defend her title for the first time. Its expected to be an exciting fight with both fighters having similar styles and a kickboxing background.
However, should Jedrzejczyk be even getting this opportunity with the way things are? Well no. I would love to just leave it at that and head off down the pub but let’s break it down and explain why.
Jedrzejczyk is an excellent fighter and will surly hold UFC gold again soon, hell she could even do it come March 8th. Just currently she may not be in the right position to be challenging for the title even with her pedigree in and out of the cage.
She is coming off a decision victory to a very game Michelle Waterson who was on a winning streak herself before the loss. Before that fight Jedrzejczyk lost three of her last four fights. Yes, it was against big names in Rose Namajunas and Valentina Shevchenko but a 2-3 record in her last five fights isn’t a championship level record.
Those three defeats were title shots also, so she lost three title shots in five fights. If that was a lesser known fighter, I’m sorry but they would go to the back of the line.
I know with the UFC records aren’t everything. Fighters like Conor McGregor and Chael Sonnen have got title shots in the past ahead of more in form fighters.
However, the likes of McGregor and Sonnen sold a fight with their words and in McGregor’s case would knock people out more times than not. That just isn’t the case with Jedrzejczyk she hasn’t finished an opponent since November 2015. Even out of her 16 wins only four of then were by knockout and one by submission, the rest went to the judges. She is also keen on trash talk to build a fight but its nothing that we haven’t seen before
Let’s not just rant endlessly let’s offer an alternative. Who has everything clicking for them at the moment? Only one women spring to mind and that is Tatiana Suarez.
Now any MMA fan with a bit of knowledge will know how flawed the UFC ranking system is. Fighters skip the line due to popularity and fan support rather than the number 1 ranked fighter just being the next for a shot of the title. However, Suarez is ranked one spot ahead of Jedrzejczyk in the Strawweight rankings in 3rd. If UFC want fans and critics to put stock in the rankings this sort of carry on needs to change.
Tatiana Suarez also currently holds an unbeaten record of 8-0. While not having heaps of experience you need to be pushing the in-form talent and make new stars for a division still trying to find its feet. Five of those wins come in the UFC itself and that was before winning her bracket on the Ultimate Fighter 23.
Suarez also finished five of her eight fights with two knockouts and three submissions. She submitted Amanda Copper with a rarely seen D’Arce choke and finished the first ever Strawweight champion Carla Esparza by TKO.
Very impressive for someone eight fights into their professional career. She may not have the vastest experience but in a sport as cutthroat as MMA you must strike while the iron is hot. She is only 29 so she is yet to hit her peak and hopefully injury free has many years left in the tank. With the nature of the best that is mixed martial arts she is only one bad match up away from losing her unbeaten record and momentum so this would of being the time to go all in on her.