It may be a long time before we see former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk return to the octagon, as she isn’t interested in fighting without fans in attendance.
Jedrzejczyk (16-4) hasn’t fought since her five-round war against Weili Zhang at UFC 248 in March of last year. Although she lost the fight by a close split decision, it was arguably the greatest fight in women’s MMA history. Landing almost 400 strikes between them, the back-and-forth action and amount of damage both Jedrzejczyk and Zhang did in the fight made it an instant classic.
“There is no sport, any sport, without fans,” Jedrzejczyk told SCMP MMA (Translation via MMA Junkie). “You know how I interact with the people, with fans. I need always extra motivation – (an) extra battery pack, energy pack. Maybe I would (fight without fans), but I don’t want to. I want to put it on hold (and) just wait. I really, truly believe everything is going to be behind (us) soon.”
UFC 248 marked the last event to have fans in attendance, with the promotion hosting all their events behind closed doors ever since due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jedrzejczyk’s disclosed pay for her fight with Zhang is at $106,000, and they also received a $50,000 fight of the night bonus. Almost seven years deep into her UFC career, the former champion is hesitant to complain but feels she is undervalued by the promotion and deserves to be paid more.
“I don’t want to hear me like a crazy person, but it’s a business,” Jedrzejczyk said. “There must be money behind it. I put on a hell of a fight last time. I was the co-main event, but I felt like me and Weili were the (real) deal on the show – and with the main event. … We put on a hell of a show, and I deserve more money.
“I deserve a bigger piece of the cake. I don’t want to complain like the other fighters. There are more than 500 fighters, but I’m a big part of this company,” she added before saying she plans to make her voice (and demands) be heard at the negotiating table with UFC higher-ups.