Joanna Jedrzejczyk & Her Legacy Imposing Fight
By James Lee
There is little doubt that Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s name will be unequivocally cemented the best in the sport’s history when she decides to retire. She will deservedly be known as the female who defended her title the second most amount of times in female history at one time and arguably turned the UFC’s strawweight division into one of the promotions most exciting.
As well as that, as many have shied away from challenges, the Polish fighter has tried her hand at every difficult challenge posed, including facing phenom Valentina Shevchenko at a weight class higher and facing every competitor that rose through the rankings with little hesitation when she was at the top of the throne.
As she prepares to regain her throne this Saturday in Las Vegas, the importance of the contest cannot go understated.
Success against Chinese champion Weili Zhang will put her amongst the greatest champions in the sport’s history, being one of only a few to have held a title on two different occasions.
Although, and perhaps most consequential, a loss will be extremely detrimental, leaving a distorted path going forward. A loss will never question her prior accomplishments when all is said and done with her career, but in terms of her current fighting career, it is instrumental.
There is no clear answer as to where she would go from here if she loses. She has already tried contesting for the flyweight title fight and with a long list of strawweight contenders looking for their opportunity at gold a loss leaves her right at the back of the list, with many potentially ahead of her that she has already beaten in previous years.
She did well build herself back up after two losses to Rose Namajunas, but the American returns next month and providing she rectifies her loss to Jessica Andrade, she looks set for the winner of this contest
Although the underdog, there is nothing to suggest she cannot win the fight on Saturday.
There is a reason her legacy cannot be questioned. Her title victories over Jessica Andrade and Karolina Kowalkiewicz were some of the best displays of skill the sport has ever seen so she has all the capabilities to push the Chinese champion all the way.
But there is something special building around Zhang at the moment that may culminate in Las Vegas.
Regardless, UFC 248 is career-defining for Joanna Jedrzejczyk. A win sees her go down as one of the most successful fighters of all time. A loss may spell the end to her championship ambitions for ever and most definitely the foreseeable future.