Cleat Geeks

The UFC Desperately Needs A Champion Like Joanna Jedrzejczyk

After an amazing week of MMA fights, we have another female champion in the bantamweight division. Amanda Nunes dispatched Miesha Tate with a very decisive first round submission, that came as a result of some very technical striking. Tate became champion after submitting Holly Holm in the fifth round of their title fight, and the world is very aware of how Holly Holm became the 2nd champion in women’s bantamweight history. Since the fall of Ronda Rousey, the belt just can’t seem to find a home. We have had four different champions in four fights. That is not the case in the strawweight division.

jjVSjp“Joanna Champion”, as she has appropriately been named, has a stranglehold on her championship title. She was originally positioned as a sort of “stepping stone” for the well known Gadelha in their first bout. After stealing a decision victory from Gadelha, she went on to steamroll Ultimate Fighter winner, and inaugural champion Carla Esparza. The succession of strikes that dropped Esparza, were some of the most impressive that I have ever seen in an MMA fight. I thought that Carla’s fellow Ultimate Fighter competitor (Jessica Penne) would pose a real threat to the title, but she fell in similar fashion, only this fight featured a lot more blood. Jedrzejczyk was relentless after opening Penne’s nose with her amazingly technical and fluid strikes. Her first title defense was even more impressive than her initial title win.

Her second title defense came just before UFC 200 against the ever-improving Claudia Gadelha. These fighters showed that they didn’t care for each other during a highly entertaining Ultimate Fighter season. Gadelha had more success on the show, and was far more cordial than Joanna. This drama made for a fascinating rematch. In the first two rounds, Claudia was able to get the best of her opponent, but that would be short lived. It was very apparent in the third round that Joanna was the fresher fighter. She was light on her feet, and spent the next fifteen minutes picking her rival apart. Of all of the fights last week, this one owned up to every bit of the hype.

Jedrzejczyk’s Polish followers were up until six in the morning watching their champion’s successful title defense. It lasted until about an hour after midnight on the east coast, but the adrenaline that this fight produced in all of the fans watching, kept everyone wide awake to watch as Joanna proved once again just how deserving a champion she is. It didn’t hurt that both fighters were very humble after the final bell, especially after all of the bad blood these two had shown leading up to the fight.

Phoyo by: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Phoyo by: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The bantamweights may be receiving criticism due to lack of depth, but that cannot be said about the strawweights. Joanna is their version of Ronda Rousey. She is not as easy to market, but her dominance is undeniable. I would purchase every UFC event that features Jedrzejczyk. The UFC is very much in need of a constant champion. After Conor McGregor, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and many other fighters before them lost their invincibility, Joanna’s remains intact. As we have learned, no one in this sport is unbeatable. Even GSP was able to be KO’ed by Matt Serra, but we have yet to see the strawweight equivalent. I hope Joanna holds on to that belt for a long time. She is everything that you want in a champion. She is ruthless, animated, and attractive in her own intimidating way. I expect the UFC to turn their focus to their most lethal fighter. She may be the last fighter in a dying breed of unstoppable forces, and the promotion would be doing themselves a disservice if they let her reign go virtually unnoticed.

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