Joanna Jedrzejczyk thinks a rematch with champion Zhang Weili could do big numbers for the UFC.
The former strawweight champion attempted to dethrone Zhang last month in the co-main event of UFC 248 in Las Vegas. It was a competitive and high-paced five-round battle that ended in a split decision favoring the Chinese champion.
The fight won “Fight of the Night” awards, became the clear front runner for “Fight of the Year,” and many have it on par with some of the greatest fights in MMA history.
“I’m very happy that I could give people what they always want,” Jedrzejczyk told MMA Junkie. “I put so much work in camp for so many weeks and I put on a hell of a fight. I’m very happy. It was probably one of the best fights in my fighting career, but I’m proud of every fight. … It was a war. I know people want this fight, and I need to rewatch it because I haven’t watched it.”
Jedrzejczyk (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) thinks running it back with Zhang would do good business for the UFC, and she would like to get paid accordingly for it.
“Big money – that’s it. That’s what I want,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I don’t need to make more money, but it’s a money fight, and I want a pice of this cake. This fight is a big fight. We were not the main event, (but) we put on a hell of a fight. People love watching … only big things, only big things.”
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Immediate rematches are not often given to challengers, but given the nature and somewhat controversial result of the fight, Jedrzejczyk believes she’s still the top contender at 115-pounds. She also thought she did enough to get the win.
“The way we fought last time, we’re both warriors, and the people want to see it because it was so close,” Jedrzejczyk said. “There’s so many girls who deserve this, but I think I’m the one.”
The war between Zhang and Jedrzejczyk was very taxing on both fighters’ body, they were both taken straight to the hospital following the end of the contest and did not attend the post-fight press conference.
Jedrzejczyk is still healing up from the damage taken in the bout, but admits she’s starting to feel the itch for a return.
“A few days, a few weeks ago, I was like, ‘I’m not fighting for the next 12 months.’ But a few days ago, I texted Dana (White) that I wanted to fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “That’s the thing. You never know when you’re going to wake up and say, ‘OK, I’m leaving. I’m going back to the States and start my camp. Sign the agreement.’
“The UFC – we need big fights, and my fight with Weili Zhang is going to be big. So they need this big-money fight. We’ll see. I don’t know.”
With the current pandemic of COVID-19, it’s uncertain when the UFC will resume schedule. The promotion currently plans on hosting an event on May 9 in a location yet to be announced, but things can change in the uncertain climate.
Jedrzejczyk, who’s currently in Poland, has no date in mind for a return, but does feel bad for the fighters whose fights have been postponed.
“There’s so many athletes in the UFC and I feel so sorry for all of them – all of us – that we can’t fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I was lucky I had a fight with an audience – it was a great show. But I feel so sorry for the rest of the athletes. They couldn’t perform – they were training, preparing, spending money, but they couldn’t perform and make this money. So that’s difficult.”