Joanna Champion was the first of three incumbent champions to fall at UFC 217 in New York City on Saturday night. Coming out of the event, she wants to run it back against the woman who took her title, “Thug” Rose Namajunas.
Heading into UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden, the biggest storyline for the women’s strawweight division was the legacy of Joanna Champion, a.k.a. Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The strawweight Queen had reigned since 2015, and was looking to tie the title defense record of Ronda Rousey with a win in New York.
Rose Namajunas had other ideas. She also chose to beat Jedrzejczyk at her own game, dominating the striking in the short bout and finishing the champ with a thunderous punch and vicious follow-up. Most would have expected Namajunas to wrestle her way to victory (if they tabbed her to win at all); Namajunas proved why MMA is the most unpredictable sport in the world.
The now-former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk addressed the media following her loss, the first of her career, and took it, as she put it, “as a former champion.”
“I will keep my head up” she said of the loss, and added “I will be back stronger.”
When asked whether the emotional build up to the fight (Jedrzejczyk had got in Rose’s face during a face-off, and questioned her mental toughness) played any part in the loss, Joanna immediately dismissed the idea, and seemed to think she was being compared to another former champ, Ronda Rousey. To be clear, the name “Rousey” had not been mentioned at that point.
“Don’t compare me to Ronda Rousey, I love her so much and we have a very good relationship but lets push this bull**** away” Jedrzejczyk responded. “I never take fights personal, and I’m not emotional when I’m fighting. Everything went so smooth during this camp, it was a very long camp, it was thirteen weeks I was training with American Top Team.”
In the end, the loss was “a big surprise, big surprise. This is what happens. Congrats to Rose.”
“I’m happy for her, but I’ll be back stronger. It’s not personal, this is what happens. The things which happened before the fight had nothing to do with this fight” the Polish striker explained. “It was a good punch, she cut me off.”
“We take this risk.”
When asked about a rematch, the former champ was all for it. “I’ll see and talk to Dana and the UFC. I think I’ve been a good athlete and a good champion for the UFC.”
“I think I deserve the rematch, if I get the rematch, we’ll see.”