Joanna Jedrzejczyk exited the UFC cage in March with a bloodied and swollen face, fresh off a classic war against women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili.
Since then, Jedrzejczyk (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) hasn’t fought and has largely stayed out of the limelight – but she isn’t retired. Jedrzejczyk recently revealed she plans on talking to the UFC as soon as sometime this month to discuss her next move.
First and foremost, Jedrzejczyk’s ideal timeline for a return is when fans are able to attend events again, which hasn’t been the case since just after UFC 248 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is no sport, any sport, without fans,” Jedrzejczyk said in a recent interview with SCMP MMA. “You know how I interact with the people, with fans. I need always extra motivation – (an) extra battery pack, energy pack. Maybe I would (fight without fans), but I don’t want to. I want to put it on hold (and) just wait. I really, truly believe everything is going to be behind (us) soon.”
As for the negotiations themselves, Jedrzejczyk thinks her “Fight of the Year” performance against Weili (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) did enough to earn herself a pay bump. Poland’s former UFC champion is happy being a member of the roster but thinks she deserves a bigger piece of the pie. If the UFC wants a rematch, they’ll need to pay up.
“I don’t want to hear me like a crazy person, but it’s a business,” Jedrzejczyk said. “There must be money behind it. I put on a hell of a fight last time. I was the co-main event, but I felt like me and Weili were the (real) deal on the show – and with the main event. … We put on a hell of a show, and I deserve more money. I deserve a bigger piece of the cake. I don’t want to complain like the other fighters. There are more than 500 fighters, but I’m a big part of this company.
“… I’ll talk at the table. I always do that. I’m not complaining. I’m very happy with the UFC as always, but I feel like people love me. With the belt or without the belt, they love me. I just want to keep on doing this for them. I keep hearing this, ‘She’s retired. She’s retired – this, that.’ I’m not retired, I’m just taking my time. I used to fight two or three times a year. No more. I want to take care of myself, my body, my mind.”
Jedrzejczyk, 33, expects Weili will have to fight Rose Namajunas next, which is a close matchup in her eyes. After that, when she does return, Jedrzejczyk expects a UFC title shot – but she’s in no rush. Waiting for the right opportunity is fine by her.
“(There are) very (high odds I fight in 2021), but if not, I just sit and wait,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I don’t know. I want to, but everything has to be in the right spot – so many things.”