It might be a little while before Joanna Jedrzejczyk can defend her UFC strawweight title again.
The Polish muay Thai specialist gradually imposed her will on Valerie Letourneau in the UFC 193 co-headliner at Etihad Stadium in Australia on Saturday night, pulling away for a five-round unanimous verdict. However, the victory did not come without a cost.
“Who’s next? I don’t know. Probably my hand is broken again,” Jedrzejczyk said at the post-fight press conference. “I must go to the hospital, so from here I need to take a few more months off. I will see. It’s Dana’s decision. I’m gonna fight with everyone anytime, anywhere.”
Jedrzejczyk previously suffered a fractured right thumb in a successful title defense against Jessica Penne at UFC Fight Night in Berlin this past June. While “Joanna Champion” initially hoped to avoid surgery for the ailment, she eventually was forced to go under the knife.
The champion showed no ill effects from that procedure against Letourneau, however, as she landed a whopping 220 significant strikes in the five-round affair -- a record for a UFC title bout. Letourneau proved more durable than either Penne or Carla Esparza, both of whom succumbed to Jedrzejczyk’s relentless pressure before the final bell.
The 28-year-old tested her foe’s resolve early, rocking Letourneau with a front kick to the face in round one, but the American Top Team product shook it off and continued to march forward. That was a recurring theme throughout the fight, as Letourneau absorbed a number of hard shots. When all was said and done, Letourneau’s face painted a picture of the damage she endured.
“I just wanted to take it easy. I knew that Valerie was kind of tough,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I was not in a hurry. I just did my job; that’s all.”
It has been a banner year for the rising Polish star, who captured the 115-pound strap with a breakout performance against Esparza at UFC 185 and hasn’t looked back since.
“I became a UFC fighter 15 months ago and became a champion so quickly,” she said during an interview on Fox Sports 1. “Now I’ve defended my title two times. I’m very happy they gave me this chance. I’m so happy.”