Although announcer Joe Rogan made it sound like a done deal in a post-fight interview at UFC 201, a strawweight championship showdown between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz is not official.
However, it could simply be a matter of time before the Polish talents are booked to fight after Kowalkiewicz vanquished fellow contender Rose Namajunas in the Saturday’s co-main event at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
“It’s the one that makes sense,” UFC President Dana White said in an interview on Fox Sports 1. “But we’ve got to get back to the office and figure out what to do. I’d love to do that fight in Poland.”
After a slow start, Kowalkiewicz rallied over the final 10 minutes against Namajunas, softening her foe with knees and elbows in the clinch in round two before controlling the last frame from top position.
“I gave the first round to Rose and the second round to Karolina. The last round was going to decide who was gonna win,” White said. “And obviously once she got that top position in the guard she definitely won that round.”
Added Kowalkiewicz: “I like fighting in the standup, I feel great in the standup. But I am an MMA fighter and I can fight on the ground. I am very good on the ground. My opponent doesn’t know this.”
According to White, it was Jedrzejczyk that initially lobbied for the promotion to sign her Polish counterpart, who is unbeaten in a 10-bout stint that includes time in Invicta FC and KSW.
“The funny thing is that Joanna Jedrzejczyk wanted us to sign her and said, ‘I want to prove to everybody in Poland that I’m the best,’” White said. “And now she has worked her way up to a possible title shot with [Jedrzejczyk], so it’s very interesting.”
Jedrzejczyk and Kowalkiewicz squared off at the amateur level in 2012, with the reigning 115-pound queen winning via first-round rear-naked choke. While Jedrzejczyk has claimed that Kowalkiewicz is not ready for a rematch the 30-year-old Top Team Lodz representative believes she has proven herself to be a worthy title challenger.
“I hope I will fight with Joanna in New York. She always says that I’m not on her level,” Kowalkiewicz said. “I hope now I showed everybody that I can fight with her. I am ready; I hope she’s ready.”