Jedrzejczyk Explains Previously Turning Down Fight With Current Strawweight Champion
Many MMA fans were rightfully impressed by the incredible performance displayed by Weili Zhang at UFC Shenzhen. Contrary to that statement, they also wondered how Zhang earned the title shot in the first place. Clearly, Weili had the skill to be considered as the best in the world. But, with just three fights beforehand, many thought the shot came too soon. Dana White previously said that nobody wanted to fight Zhang. Now, we’ve learned that one of those people was ex Strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk recently appeared on the Eurobash Podcast. On the show, she discussed the UFC’s previous attempts to book the match between Joanna and Zhang. She also explained why she turned down the fight on at least three occasions.
Joanna Explains Not Fighting Zhang
Speaking to the hosts of the show, Joanna explained her stance on Zhang. Primarily, her reasoning was that she felt like the UFC was trying to build a star in Zhang off of Johanna’s name. And, in Johanna’s opinion, the Chinese star didn’t deserve the spotlight yet.
“She’s good, but the truth is they offered me Weili Zhang three times before that fight (against Andrade vs Zhang) and the thing is, she needed me,” said Joanna to the hosts.
Joanna continued to explain her positioning.
“Okay, she’s the champ now so it might look like she never needed me to become someone. Sometimes people are like, ‘Do you know who she is now?’ Of course, I know who she is, but I fight in the Octagon, you know? I’m a professional athlete, I’m a businesswoman and I know who I am,” said Joanna.
Joanna’s Business Mentality
She explained how her skillset is too good to lower herself to the level of calling girls out via social media. Although, plenty of girls have used the platform to call out Joanna.
“I don’t do fights on Twitter,” said Joanna. “If (girls) call me out, I like it because I know I am in a strong position. Why are they calling me out? Because they know I can bring them to a different level. Maybe they can be lucky and win against former UFC champion, a dominant champion, which I was. (That would help them) get better money, get better exposure. Of course, they offered me Weili Zhang, but my goal was to fight for the belt. I took my spot, now I’m fighting Waterson and then I will go for the belt. Slowly, step-by-step, I will reach my goals and my dreams,” she said.
If Joanna and Zhang Fight
So, it appears that in Joanna’s mind, Zhang was a notch or two below her path to re-capturing UFC gold once again. Now that Weili Zhang is a UFC champion, the very person she turned down may very well be who she has to face to re-reach her dream.
Whether Zhang will reward Jedrzejczyk or not is up to her. Adding a win from a long time dominate champion in Joanna would add to Zhang’s legacy. If Joanna gets past Waterson, it could put her in prime position for the fight to finally happen. If Zhang allows it.