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Joanna Jedrzejczyk not looking for ‘easy fight’ in UFC return, still eyeing Zhang Weili rematch

Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t fought since losing to Zhang in March 2020.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk targets rematch with Zhang Weili for UFC return
Joanna Jedrzejczyk targets rematch with Zhang Weili for UFC return
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has not fought in nearly two years. Fight fans should not expect to see her back inside the UFC octagon until the second half of 2022.

Jedrzejczyk’s most recent outing was a split-decision loss to then 115-pound UFC champion Zhang Weili. Their five-round battle was one of the most exciting fights - men’s or women’s - since women began competing under the UFC banner in 2013. Jedrzejczyk is targeting a rematch with the ex-champ for her return bout.

If a rematch is to materialize, it doesn’t look like it has any chance of happening until at least the summer.

“I heard Zhang Weili may not be back until late July or August,” Jedrzejczyk told The Fighter vs. The Writer. “What they told me was that she was planning on being back to fighting March-April and then May-June. The last thing I heard was July-August.

“I can wait, and I want to wait, but on the other hand, I don’t want to wait that long.”

Jedrzejczyk, who the UFC dropped from the official UFC strawweight rankings in October 2021 for inactivity, is eager to get back to action, but her desire to fight in only “big” fights is working against her at the moment.

“It’s complicated because all the girls [ranked] from 1 to 10 are booked,” Jedrzejczyk told The Fighter vs. The Writer. “But like I said, I’m only looking at the big, big, big fights.”

With so much time off since her most recent outing, Jedrzejczyk said she has heard calls for her to take a “warm up” fight before she attempts to mix things up with the top ranked women in the strawweight division. The ex-champ dismissed that talk.

“So many people are like, ‘Get an easy fight, you’ve been out for a while,’” Jedrzejczyk said. “A fight is a fight. A fight is a pleasure. The hard work is so many weeks before. I make the same amount of money. I’m crazy. When I train, when I’m preparing for my fights, I’m crazy. I don’t go easy. So I don’t want to fight easy.

“I don’t want an easy fight. Because I will be training hard like for the championship fight. So I’ve been prepared to fight big names, No. 1 [contender] or the champion.”

Jedrzejczyk began her MMA career with a 14-0 record. During that stretch, she won the UFC strawweight title and defended it five times. Her reign as champion ended with a first-round knockout loss to Rose Namajunas, who is the current titleholder, in November 2017. Jedrzejczyk’s overall record is 16-4. Her most recent victory is a 2019 unanimous decision over Michelle Waterson.