So far, everything has gone according to plan in Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s professional career.
The reigning UFC strawweight queen is unbeaten in 12 outings — six in the UFC — and might be the biggest female star in the sport outside of Ronda Rousey. Still, following a hard-fought five-round verdict against Claudia Gadelha at “The Ultimate Fighter 23” finale in July, the Polish champion decided to make a significant change.
After spending the entirety of her pro tenure in her home country, Jedrzejczyk moved her training camp to American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., in preparation for her UFC 205 showdown with Polish rival Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Thus far, the woman known as Joanna Champion is pleased with her decision.
“I’m very happy here in Florida. I’m part of ATT. I left everything in Poland: My fiance, my family is there. I fly back and forth. I’m trying to stay nine months in 2017 because I would like to have two or three fights next year,” she said during a media call on Wednesday. “Of course, [there were] lot of questions before I got to ATT. After six to seven weeks, I can honestly say that I’m very happy, I’m fresh. I’m open. I challenged myself every day, I learned new stuff.
“You’re going to see a new Joanna in this fight, maybe just a little bit. But I’m looking forward to this fight. It’s a perfect place to be.”
ATT includes the likes of Valerie Letourneau, who Jedrzejczyk defeated at UFC 193, and Tecia Torres, a contender at 115 pounds. Still, Jedrzejczyk says that she is on good terms with all of the team.
“Everything is fine. I have a very good relationship with all of the fighters,” she said. “I have a very good relationship with the female fighters from ATT. We are helping each other. We are talking to each other. We see each other every day.”
Not everyone is as thrilled with the move. Jedrzejczyk admits that there has been criticism from back home, but she does her best to filter out any negativity.
“Sometimes we get tired of some people, places and atmosphere and I needed to change that. Of course I heard some negative comments that I left my coaches, that they made me. But champions are not made in the gym, Muhammad Ali said. Of course my coaches helped me. I like them so much. I’m very thankful to them for everything they’ve done for me the last few years,” she said. “It was like a transfer in football. I moved the gym because I felt I must do this. I feel different. I want to defend my title and that’s my goal. I felt like I had to do this move.
“I focus on my things, on good stuff. I don’t care what people are saying. I know that I made a good decision, a good transfer. You are going to see Nov. 12 in New York,” she continued. “You shouldn’t care about what other people are saying. When you’re becoming more and more popular, you have more followers and more fans but more haters as well. I’m trying to keep a balance between the good and bad comments. I’m not reading the bad comments; I’m not reading the good comments. I’m not checking the comments under the interviews or pictures of me on other websites. I’m focused.”