Polish Muay Thai expert, Joanna Jędrzejczyk has shared the Octagon with the who’s who of the UFC women’s ranks. Former champion, Carla Esparza. Talented kicker, Karolina Kowalkiewicz. 125-pound best, Valentina Shevchenko. Two-time opponent, Rose Namajunas. Former Invicta FC best, Michelle Waterson. Grappling ace, Cláudia Gadelha. That’s to name a few. This weekend in Las Vegas, Jędrzejczyk takes on Zhang Weili as she tries to pry back her once-coveted throne – an opponent she believes matches up stylistically with former-foe, Jéssica Andrade.
Joanna comfortably lodged the final defence of her 115-pound crown against Andrade back in 2017, but believes Weili can offer some similar showings to the Brazil – whom she finished in just forty-two seconds last August to make history. Speaking with Colin Crandall from the MMA Power Hour, at Thursday’s Media Day – Jędrzejczyk remained coy when discussing different styles, but noted how Weili compares somewhat to Andrade.
“I don’t like to compare people to each other, like they compare me to someone,” Joanna said. “Someone can look good in one fight but doesn’t look the same in the other fight, that’s the thing. Weili Zhang can be compared to Jéssica Andrade – the same height, the same posture, the same power. Weili Zhang surprised the world in the fight with Jéssica Andrade but, the thing is, we show up differently to every fight and every opponent. Every fight is different – it’s always fifty-fifty. She’s the champ, the money’s on her, she looks better on paper, it doesn’t matter. In the end, it’s fifty-fifty. When you’re fighting top five, or top ten, man, it’s fifty-fifty.“
On paper, as Joanna mentioned, both herself and Weili are two of the most dominant strawweights to ever step foot in the Octagon. A combined thirty-six professional wins – with fourteen knockouts. Two highly-accomplished strikers with differing styles. Weili, a power-puncher with measured offence. Jędrzejczyk, as pressuring a standup artist you’re likely to find with almost unmatched output among her peers. Saturday – stay tuned.