Former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk believes Ronda Rousey deserves to walk straight into a bantamweight title fight should ‘Rowdy’ make a return to the Octagon.
Speculation regarding Rousey’s return to the world of mixed martial arts has run rampant ever since former two-division titleholder Amanda Nunes announced her retirement from the sport following a decisive unanimous decision victory over Irene Aldana at UFC 289 last month. Some fans have spoken out against Rousey cutting the line and going straight into a title fight after walking away from the sport seven years ago. But for future Hall of Famer Joanna Jedrejczyk, the bantamweight title still belongs to Rousey.
“She can fight for the vacant title. It’s her belt,” Jedrejczyk told The Schmo during International Fight Week.
As far as who Rousey could face in a hypothetical return, Jedrejczyk believes both Julianna Pena and Raquel Pennington deserve to share a spotlight with the first-ever UFC women’s champion.
“It can be Julianna or Raquel,” Jedrejczyk said. “Raquel deserves a title shot. She has a few win streaks so, yeah.”
Julianna Pena and Raquel Pennington currently sit as the top two ranked contenders in the division. Should they square off to crown a new bantamweight queen, the winner could find themselves rewarded with a high-profile clash against Ronda Rousey at UFC 300 next year. Of course, all of that is pure speculation, but with rumors running amok that ‘Rowdy’ is on the verge of exiting the WWE, the stars appear to be aligning for a return to the sport that she dominated for years.
#OnThisDay in 2014: Ronda Rousey took just 16 SECONDS to knock out Alexis Davis! 💥
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) July 5, 2023
Joanna Jedrejczyk Says Alexa Grasso Will Be Even Stronger in Rematch with Valentina Shevchenko
Switching gears to the flyweight division, Joanna Jedrzejczyk was asked about the highly anticipated rematch between reigning division champion Alexa Grasso and former titleholder Valentina Shevchenko. Jedrzejczyk was unable to offer up a prediction for the bout but suggested that Grasso will be much stronger in the sequel, as is typically the case with challengers who break through to become world champions.
“I don’t know. I don’t like to predict the fights,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I know how tough, physically and mentally, Valentina is, but I know how strong you get after winning the UFC belt. It’s a totally different motivation. A different power you get in your head and in your muscles, so I really don’t know.”
Of course, Jedrzejczyk is speaking from experience, having captured the strawweight title via a second-round TKO against Carla Esparza in March 2015. JJ would go on to defend the title an impressive five times.
“It feels like this extra power you can see,” Jedrzejczyk said of winning a UFC championship. “You feel like the whole universe is in you, with you, and behind your back. A perfect example is Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman. That’s a perfect example of how challengers are becoming the champions and how dominant they are becoming.”
Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 goes down on September 16 when the UFC heads back to T-Mobile Arena for a super-sized Fight Night card.