Joanna Jedrzejczyk asked for her fellow countrywoman, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, to be signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship when people in their homeland of Poland questioned who the best female straw-weight fighter in the world was.
And Jedrzejczyk proved to be that when she outpointed Kowalkiewicz and earned a unanimous decision victory in the five-round fight at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York City Saturday night.
“You know why I stay a champion? Because I’m humble every day,” Jedrzejczyk said in her post-fight interview in The Octagon. “I work hard every day. I’m very focused and work hard for myself. I challenge myself every day, and that’s why I stay the champion. I didn’t disrespect Karolina. I knew it was going to be a really tough fight.”
In order to pull out the victory, Jedrzejczyk overcame an early knockdown. Kowalkiewicz landed a right hand to the face that stunned the champion. But Jedrzejczyk came back strong and controlled the tempo of the fight.
“I wasn’t hurt very badly, but you never expect the knockdown,” Jedrzejczyk said. “You don’t know what’s going on, but it was just for a second. I feel great. I was back. I felt like I was controlling all of the fight. I wasn’t out at all. Polish girls are probably the toughest in the world. Karolina was a very good challenger for me. She’s tough. I’m very happy that she and other Polish fighters joined the UFC.”
According to FightMetric, Jedrzejczyk landed 181 of her 371 strike attempts, and 171 of those were considered significant. Also, she landed her lone takedown attempt of the fight.
Conversely, Kowalkiewicz landed only 63 of her 234 attempts, 50 of which were significant.
In three of the rounds, Kowalkiewicz landed less than 10 total strikes. Jedrzejczyk connected on at least 28 strikes in each of the five five-minute rounds to successfully defend her championship for the fourth consecutive time since winning the belt with a TKO victory over Carla Esparza on March 14, 2015.
Jedrzejczyk improved to 13-0 in her professional MMA career with the win over Kowalkiewicz and is 7-0 in the UFC.
Kowalkiewicz fell to 10-1 with the loss.
“Like I expected, she’s the best in the world,” Kowalkiewicz said after the loss. “It was a very hard fight, but I am very proud because I gave, I think, a very good fight, and maybe, next time, we can fight in Poland.”