UFC 205 looks set to be one of the biggest fight cards the promotion has ever put together. With so much talent on display, it’s hard to single out any one fighter and pick their best moment. Yet, that’s exactly what I’m doing today. Of course, when you look at that fight card, a lot of names stand out, but there’s only one that demands attention.
The true champion on the fight card. Undefeated in their weight division. Traveling from Europe to become the first UFC champion of their country. The pride of their nation. That’s right, I’m talking about #JoannaJedrzejczyk.
Boasting a six-fight win streak in the UFC, Jedrzejczyk has yet to face defeat in her professional fighting career. With a multitude of standout moments in the strawweight champion's career to date, including a stint as a coach on the reality series The Ultimate Fighter, it was her championship-winning fight against #CarlaEsparza that produced arguably the greatest moment of her career.
At UFC 185, Jedrzejczyk put a beatdown on Esparza that has yet to be rivaled in the strawweight division. Joanna dispatched the former champion in stunning fashion, dominating the fight from the onset. As soon as the bell rang for the first round, “Cookie Monster” knew she was in for a violent fight, but the native Californian probably didn't anticipate just how vicious Jedrzejczyk was going to be.
Jedrzejczyk rained down punches and elbows as Esparza struggled to defend herself, cowering with each landed shot. With nearly every punch finding its mark, it was clear that this fight would not be going the distance.
As the second round started, the onslaught continued. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point that Jedrzejczyk wasn’t going to let Esparza see the third round, and in the dying minute of the second round, that’s exactly what happened.
Cornering the then champ against the cage, the fight was called to a stop four minutes and 17 seconds into the second round, as Esparza endured a devastating combo of undefended hooks and vicious jabs. Don Turnage proved to be Carla Esparza’s saving grace, as an impending knockout seemed inevitable.
The devastating, one-sided fight didn’t just result in Jedrzejczyk becoming the first Polish champion in UFC history, it also earned the then 27-year-old a Performance of the Night bonus.
The fight was the perfect example of why MMA fans should never sleep on the women of the UFC. Just as impressive as any male athlete, the women of the UFC have consistently proven that they are just as entertaining. We’ve come a long way since Dana White claimed women would never fight within the promotion.
Since UFC 185, Jedrzejczyk has gone on to make three successful title defenses against Jessica Penne, Valérie Létourneau and Cláudia Gadelha. Continuing her run of impressive performances, Jedrzejczyk broke the record for most leg kicks thrown in her fight against Létourneau, as she landed an impressive 70. In her most recent outing, the Polish champ took home a Fight of the Night bonus.
As we look towards UFC 205, one thing is certain. Regardless of the result, Poland will still be able to boast a champion in the UFC strawweight division. Making her fourth title defense, Jedrzejczyk will hope to overcome fellow Polish mixed martial artist, #KarolinaKowalkiewicz, at the UFC’s #MadisonSquareGarden debut.