In November 2017, then strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk tasted her first career defeat at the hands of Rose Namajunas. After dropping the title she held for two years, she failed to reclaim it in their rematch five months later.
Jedrzejczyk went up ten pounds to challenge flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, where she again lost via decision. She did bounce back last October with a win against Michelle Waterson in her return to strawweight, looking like her old self.
The 32-year-old Polish striker attributed those three losses to a tumultuous time in her personal life at the time.
“People in Poland know more, but people in the states and worldwide, they don’t know much about my private life,” Jedrzejczyk said in a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered (transcript by MMA Fighting). “The last two years were pretty difficult for me. It was a rough time, and I feel like 2019 is a special year, so I can’t wait for 2020.”
Jedrzejczyk went on the explain that it was her break-up with her fiancé that played a major role in her losses.
“I broke up with my fiancé, and we broke up before my first fight with Rose Namajunas, and this terrible weight cut happened, and I broke up again,” she explained. “This year I found out that my [previous Polish] manager messed up my money, and then I found out that my fiance was cheating on me.
“That girl called me; I think that she was afraid that I was going to beat her up so badly, but I was like, ‘No, I’m kidding.’ I just want to show to people and tell people that there’s always something going on in our lives. It doesn’t matter who you are. If your private life is not going in the right direction, you’re not going to be successful in the sport, or in the business.”
Now back on the winning track, Jedrzejczyk has nothing but an optimistic outlook moving forward in 2020.
“This year was amazing, and I cannot wait for that coming 2020. Now I feel free,” she said. “I feel me, I feel Joanna again. I’m more smart, I’m more experienced. Maybe shitty things happened in my life, but it has to happen somehow. I’m happy.
“I know what life is about now. When I turned 30, I thought I knew a lot and I had experienced a lot. I was broken in my life, so dedicated to the sport, losing my mind into the sport, working so hard. But that’s the difference – I’m happy now.”
Jedrzejczyk will try to reclaim the UFC strawweight title when she faces Weili Zhang at UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas.