Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Jędrzejczyk: Zhang Fight Showed I Deserve More From The UFC

Former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk has revealed that her most recent fight was the first time in her career that she’s felt underpaid by the promotion.

Jędrzejczyk, who achieved 115-pound title glory with a victory over Carla Esparza in 2015, hasn’t been in action since her blockbuster clash with Zhang last March. In the UFC 248 co-main event, the pair put on one of the greatest fights in UFC history. Their back-and-forth affair ended in a split decision win for the champion, but Jędrzejczyk’s immense challenge certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

Despite the incredible fight, which many believe she did enough to win, the defeat meant the polish star has lost four of her last six fights. Prior to her first setback in the sport against current strawweight queen Rose Namajunas, Jędrzejczyk had defended her title a record five times.

Whilst her form since 2017 looks poor on paper, two defeats to “Thug Rose” and a decision loss to dominant flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko did little to harm her stock, and her clash with “Magnum” in 2020 had a more positive effect on her reputation than negative.

Jędrzejczyk Reveals There’s Big Money On The Table Elsewhere

Despite the fanfare and plaudits surrounding her five-round war with Zhang, Jędrzejczyk has revealed the fight opened her eyes to a not so thrilling aspect of the sport.

Having previously cited Kevin Holland as proof that the fighter pay debate is flawed, UFC President Dana White recently made use of Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s spending, suggesting her Instagram account displays how “very rich” she is. However, the 34-year-old has seemingly contradicted White’s claims.

During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Jędrzejczyk revealed her barnburner with Zhang made her feel undervalued for the first time in her career. Now, in her eyes, she deserves a bigger slice of the promotion’s fairly monstrous and lucrative cake.

When asked if the bout left her feeling underpaid, the veteran admitted it did. She further revealed that whilst she can’t see herself competing under the banners of any other promotions, there are sizeable sums of money on the table away from the UFC.

“Yes, I did. For the first time, yeah. For the first time in my life. For the first time in my life. And you were there. You saw so many people with Polish flags cheering for me. ‘She’s the champ,’ people were cheering for me. And I feel like I deserve bigger piece of cake. And I don’t see myself fighting out of the UFC, but there are people who are interested in having me, putting big money on the table. But yeah, it’s big.”

When asked whether she’ll avoid returning to the Octagon before being offered better remuneration, Jędrzejczyk suggested she can’t afford to wait.

“Somehow I will have to. And maybe it’s bad for the next negotiations, but, yeah, sooner or later, I will get what I really deserve.”

The Pole went on to say she’s targeting March or April 2022 as the date for her next Octagon outing, with the hopes of discussing an improved deal with the UFC shortly after. She ultimately suggested the addition of PPV points to her contract would resolve any negative feeling she currently holds towards her pay.

Do you think brutal wars like Zhang vs. Jędrzejczyk show that UFC fighters don’t get paid enough?