Sunday, June 26, 2022

Joanna Jędrzejczyk Sums Up Her Career In One Word

UFC 275 included some tremendous fights and individual performances, but it also marked the final appearance for one of the sport’s most popular fighters.

Following her second-round knockout loss to rival Zhang Weili, Joanna Jędrzejczyk removed her gloves and announced that she was retiring from the sport.

Speaking at the event’s post-fight press conference, the former strawweight queen was asked to sum up her career in one word. Jędrzejczyk considered the question for a moment before answering.

“Legacy. When you read about legacy, it means everything, you know? That you’ve done big things. So it’s legacy. And I always wanted to be remembered as one of the greatest, and I will. I’m just the girl from the hood, you know? JJ from the hood. And I did big things. Quite big. I have to sit and think about what I have approached.”

After entering the UFC in 2014 with an undefeated record of 6-0, it only took two wins before Jędrzejczyk found herself as the first challenger for inaugural strawwweight champion Carla Esparza. The Polish striker overwhelmed Esparza at UFC 185 and captured the strawweight title via second-round stoppage.

Jędrzejczyk claimed the UFC strawweight title from Carla Esparza in 2015. (Associated Press)

Jędrzejczyk successfully defended the belt 5 times before losing to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217. She came up short again in an immediate rematch with Namajunas, and in 2018 she lost to Valentina Shevchenko in a fight for the promotion’s vacant flyweight title.

The 34-year-old had an opportunity to regain her strawweight title in 2020 against Zhang, and the two ended up putting on what is widely considered to be one of the greatest fights in the history of the sport. Zhang retained her title via split-decision, though some argued that Jędrzejczyk deserved the nod.

This rematch with Zhang was Jędrzejczyk’s first fight since the two battled for the title in 2020. Although she retires on two-straight losses, Jędrzejczyk went undefeated through her first 14 fights and was instrumental in establishing the popularity of the UFC’s women’s divisions.

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