Former Ultimate Fighting Championship women's strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk refuses to believe current champion Rose Namajunas is the best woman in the division despite the fact she has been bested by her twice.
The 30 year-old is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Tecia Torres at UFC Calgary last weekend and after the fight Jedrzejczyk told reporters that she still felt she was the queen of the division.
“No way I’ll say Rose is the best,” Jedrzejczyk said after defeating Tecia Torres at last week’s UFC on Fox 30 post-fight press conference. “Maybe you beat me, you’re the champion and you won. But your legacy isn’t that big. You should bow down, because I am the queen.”
While the champion Namajunas hasn’t responded to these claims, her trainer and fiancé Pat Barry didn’t hold back, suggesting Jedrzejczyk will never grow as a fighter if she doesn’t accept defeat in her career.
“I think that Joanna is f*cking herself over by not accepting defeat,” Barry told MMA Fighting at Thursday’s UFC 227 media day. “That’s why she lost to Valentina three times. Lost the first time, she got robbed. Lost the second time, she got robbed. Lost the third time. Knockout to Rose, wasn’t her fault. Lost a decision, wasn’t her fault. She wants to fight Rose again. She’s not going to be able to. It’s still going to be Rose.”
Speaking from experience, Barry said that to become a better fighter, the former champion must own her losses.
“You can grow from losing,” said Barry, who will corner JJ Aldrich for her main-card fight with Polyana Viana on Saturday night. “If you’re not going to grow from that, how are you going to get better? It’s not her fault that anything ever went wrong in her life. It’s everyone else’s fault but hers.
“Honestly, as good as Joanna is -- she’s a f*cking fantastic athlete, she’s a dominant athlete, one of the best female fighters to ever live, ever -- if she accepted the responsibility for it, how much better would she get? How much better would she be if she accepted it, worked on making some changes? How much better would she be? But she’s been so dominant for so long, I don’t think she’s going to make any changes.”
Barry said one of the reasons why Jedrzejczyk lost twice to Namajunas is because she hasn’t changed as a fighter since her UFC debut and even compared her career to that of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko.
“If you think about it, when Joanna came out and fought Carla [Esparza] and beat Carla, that’s the same Joanna that fought Rose. She hasn’t advanced. She’s the same fighter. She hasn’t gotten better. Only thing is she’s gotten in better shape. She’s like Fedor. Fedor came out and killed everybody and no one could handle him for years and years and then eventually everyone caught up and figured him out, because Fedor didn’t get any better. He stayed exactly where he was, and eventually everyone figured him out. Joanna hasn’t gotten better; she’s gotten more in shape. That’s it.”
Despite the fact Jedrzejczyk beat Torres last weekend; it didn’t change Barry’s view of her and is not convinced she should be next in line for the current champ.
“No, we know Rose is a better fighter,” Barry said. “She beat her twice. There’s no discussion. There’s no discussion. If Joanna is the better fighter, she’d be the champ right now. But she’s not. Rose is. She knocked her out, and then she beat her ass for five rounds.
“Rose wants to fight whoever’s the best. If Joanna is the second best or the next best whoever it is, Rose wants to fight the best. Whoever’s out there. But is she entertaining the idea of fighting Joanna again? Sure, if that’s what comes around. Been there, done that.”