Jędrzejczyk last stepped in the Octagon in March of 2020 at UFC 248 where she lost a split decision in a shoo-in for “fight of the year”. In particular, the former strawweight great faced Weili Zhang and despite it being a dragged-out war, the Polish striker came up short in the end. As a result of the fight, the former champion also took heavy damage with a notable hematoma on her forehead.
Since then, Joanna Jędrzejczyk has taken a step away from fighting, but surely she is getting the itch to compete again after seeing the recent performance of a former opponent in Carla Esparza. At UFC Vegas 27, Esparza violently finished Yan Xiaonan with a brutal TKO finish. Following the performance, Esparza has been on the title campaign trail but Jędrzejczyk believes that Esparza did not earn the title shot against Namajunas just yet.
“This is what (Esparza) thinks. She has a few wins straight but hmm, I think the next challenger should be JJ or Weili Zhang. This is what I agree to only,” Jędrzejczyk said in an interview with The Schmo.
After being asked what is next for herself, the former champion seemed passionate about the rematches against either Namajunas or former champion Zhang. Interestingly, while Esparza was the inaugural strawweight champion, it was Joanna Jędrzejczyk who took the title from her back in 2015.
“Both fights are possible and are very interesting not only for me but for the other girls as well, I mean Rose or Weili Zhang, for the UFC, and the fans, so we’ll see what’s going to happen next,” Jędrzejczyk said.
With an optimistic view on the current strawweight landscape, it looks like fans may see Joanna Jędrzejczyk back in the cage this year, but the former champion might only return if it’s for a rematch she can get up for. In the coming weeks, hopefully the UFC will give the MMA world a hint as to who they think should be first for the second title reign of Namajunas.
Who would you like to see Joanna Jędrzejczyk fight in her return to the Octagon?