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Joanna Jedrzejczyk may have passed her peak years, but she remains a foundational figure in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s plans to grow women’s mixed martial arts.
The former women’s strawweight champion enters 2021 on the heels of her split decision loss to current titleholder Weili Zhang at UFC 248 on March 7—a remarkable five-round battle that resulted in widespread “Fight of the Year” acclaim. Jedrzejczyk still owns one of MMA’s most impressive resumes, buoyed by wins over Claudia Gadelha (twice), Carla Esparza, Jessica Penne, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Jessica Andrade, Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson. The Olsztyn, Poland, native turns 34 in August.
As Jedrzejczyk awaits her next assignment, here are five things you might not know about her:
1. Pre-UFC success set the stage for her rise to power.
A five-time gold medalist at the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur World Muay Thai Championships, Jedrzejczyk won the 57-kilogram title in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. She was a silver medalist in 2008.
2. Her striking skills translated well to MMA.
Jedrzejczyk’s standup exploits have placed her in rarified air in the UFC. She ranks second on the promotion’s all-time list in significant strikes landed (1,711), trailing only Max Holloway (2,173) in the category. Jedrzejczyk also ranks fifth in striking differential (3.22) and ninth in total strikes landed (1,943).
3. She was no flash in the pan.
Jedrzejczyk held the undisputed UFC women’s strawweight crown from March 14, 2015 to Nov. 4, 2017—a span of 966 days. Only 14 other fighters have enjoyed single title reigns lasting at least 900 days: Anderson Silva (2,457), Demetrious Johnson (2,142), George St. Pierre (2,064), Jose Aldo (1,848), Amanda Nunes (1,638), Jon Jones (1,501), Daniel Cormier (1,315), Tito Ortiz (1,260), Dominick Cruz (1,117), Ronda Rousey (1,074), Khabib Nurmagomedov (1,001), Tyron Woodley (945), Pat Miletich (931) and Holloway (925).
4. The word traveler label fits.
The frequent flyer miles have piled up for Jedrzejczyk. Among the countries in which she has competed as a martial artist: Poland, Russia, England, United States, Germany, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Suriname, Japan, Belarus and Thailand.
5. Only a select few have cracked her code.
The three women who have defeated Jedrzejczyk—Zhang, Valentina Shevchenko and Rose Namajunas (twice)—own a cumulative winning percentage of .862 and a combined record of 50-8.
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