Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her belt this weekend at UFC211, but if she thinks that another successful title defense will give her some breathing space, she'd better think again.
Just last month, Rose Namajunas defeated Michelle Waterson at #UFConFox24 and in a lot of people’s minds, cemented herself as the next number one contender. Karolina Kowalkiewicz, however, has other ideas.
The Pole believes she can skip to the front of the line herself if she puts in a dominant performance in her next fight against Claudia Gadelha at #UFC212. Having defeated Namajunas last June at UFC 199, Kowalkiewicz is focused on her fight with Gadelha and putting herself in line for another crack at the champion.
“I think if I beat Claudia, I will be fighting for that title again,” Kowalkiewicz said, speaking exclusively to Champions.co. “It would be logical because I already beat Rose last year. That’s my opinion, but to be honest, I’m not thinking about it much at the moment—I’m focused on Gadelha and only Gadelha.”
While her sole focus remains on UFC 212, Kowalkiewicz will no doubt be eyeing up a spot on the #UFCGdansk card on October 21. Having missed out on the opportunity to fight under the UFC banner in April 2015 in Krakow, the opportunity to fight in front of her home fans in the UFC remains a big dream.
“As I said, I’m only thinking about my next bout and I don't want to look so far in the future, but speaking honestly, it's my dream to fight in Gdansk,” Kowalkiewicz said. “When I beat Claudia, I think it makes sense for me to fight Asia [Jedrzejczyk] again. It is a rematch that fans would tune in to watch, especially Polish fans.”
If there’s to be a rematch between the two Poles, Jedrzejczyk must first successfully defend the title against Jessica Andrade this weekend. The champion is currently a favorite with the bookmakers and Kowalkiewicz isn’t expecting there to be an upset.
“Joanna will win—no doubt about that,” Kowalkiewicz said. “I really respect Andrade and think she is a good and a very strong fighter, but I just don’t think she’s got the tools to get it done against Joanna. I think it will be hard for her to take Joanna down and even if Jessica does, Joanna will just be able to spring back up to her feet.”
While Kowalkiewicz was happy to predict a win for the champion at UFC 211, she’s not been blind to the fact that Jedrzejczyk has still taken a few subtle digs at her on social media since their clash at UFC 205. Suffice to say, the feud between the two is far from settled.
“I have no idea why she continues to have a problem with me,” Kowalkiewicz said. “I think despite her huge success, she worked so hard to achieve, she still has a lot of issues with herself. She should just chill out.”