Valerie Letourneau has gone five rounds with Joanna Jedrzejczyk as an opponent and shared the training room with her at American Top Team, so it’s safe to say she has some insight regarding the former strawweight champion.
Like most everyone else, Letourneau was shocked to see Jedrzejczyk lose to Rose Namajunas via first-round technical knockout at UFC 217. However, the 34-year-old Canadian, who faces Kate Jackson at Bellator 191 on Dec. 15, disputes the notion that the Polish star fell victim to overconfidence.
“I don’t think so. It’s always been her attitude. We are very different. I like to be very humble. I don’t talk too much. I don’t like to show off. I think most Canadians are like that,” Letourneau told Sherdog.com “It’s always been her attitude. But she is a different person in the gym. She’s not cocky in the gym. She’s close to everybody. She’s coming to the gym riding her bicycle. I don’t see her this way. This is what matters the most to me. She’s been training so freaking hard. This is something that inspires me from Joanna, is how hard [she trains] after beating almost everybody in the division. She didn’t take this fight lightly.
“That’s not the reason why she lost….but she didn’t train like she was overconfident. That’s all I can say.”
Namajunas floored Jedrzejczyk with an overhand right early, and then dropped her foe again with a left hook before finishing with follow-up punches at the 3:03 mark of the opening stanza. Just like that, Jedrzejczyk’s reign over the UFC strawweight division was ended in a most unexpected manner.
“I was training more with her for that fight. It’s weird, but …my jiu-jitsu game is a little more like Rose. I don’t show it so much in a fight, but I like to go for weird submissions,” Letourneau said. “Everything can happen in a fight, but if Rose had to win the fight I was definitely not expecting her to win this way. I thought maybe she could get a submission, or get something like this, but definitely not to knock her out. That was a big upset for me.”
Jedrzejczyk had gone the full five rounds in her previous four title defenses, including a decision triumph over Letourneau at UFC 193. Seeing her teammate’s fight with Namajunas end so abruptly left Letourneau wanting more.
“It’s disappointing. It’s always sad to see someone doing so good, but nobody’s invincible. It went so quick,” she said. “That’s what’s frustrating about a first round knockout. When Jose Aldo got knocked out [in 13 seconds by Conor McGregor at UFC 194] you feel like you want to redo this fight, you want to see more. I would have loved to see more of this fight.”
Regardless, seeing Jedrzejczyk prepare has provided Letourneau with ample motivation as she gets set to make her Bellator MMA debut.