Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk has explained how she’s harnessing her business acumen to extend her legacy outside the Octagon.
Jędrzejczyk held gold on MMA’s biggest stage between 2015 and 2017. After dethroning Carla Esparza at UFC 185, the Polish star went on to defend the belt five times against Jessica Penne, Valérie Létourneau, Cláudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and Jéssica Andrade.
But since her victory over the Brazilian, Jędrzejczyk has gone 2-4, including consecutive losses to current titleholder Rose Namajunas and a setback against reigning flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko.
The 34-year-old’s last appearance saw her share the Octagon with then-champ Zhang Weili in March 2020. In one of the greatest fights of all time, the pair traded blows for 25 minutes. In a close contest, many believe the level of visible damage on the head of the challenger, including a gruesome hematoma, perhaps swayed the decision in the Chinese star’s favor.
One year ago today, Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk delivered five rounds of brilliance in one of the greatest fights of all time pic.twitter.com/n29scCGe32
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 7, 2021
Jędrzejczyk: “I Was Always Into Business”
While some fans will look down on a two-year layoff and often criticize inactivity, Jędrzejczyk has certainly paid her dues in the sport and has been making an impact beyond the realms of fighting since her last outing.
From commercials to projects, Jędrzejczyk has been making a splash in the business world, as many fighters have attempted and succeeded in doing over the past few years.
Having developed a business acumen from a young age, Jędrzejczyk is hoping to stretch beyond the confines of being an “athlete” and extend her legacy through partnerships and self-made businesses.
“I do lots of media, lots of sponsorships; I’m trying to build my own businesses,” said Jędrzejczyk on a recent episode of American Top Team’s Punchin’ In podcast. “The other things, I love doing sponsorship obligations, media, TV, but training is always first. This is what made me. This is who I am. This is why I’m here, because of all my wins, trophies, sports legacy, sports success; it helped me become kind of a celebrity. I think after I lost the belt, people learn more about the Joanna Jędrzejczyk as a woman, a human, than only an athlete. I was like, a robot, only an athlete back in the day. Only training, training training. But I was always full of passions and hobbies.
“I was doing businesses since I was a little girl. I was always into business and doing things. So, this is what I love,” added Jędrzejczyk. “Now people know that I’m not only high-quality athlete, they know that I’m high-quality business woman, and I’m high-quality role model, and I’m high-quality human being. That’s why they want to hang out with me, they want to do deals, they want to promote things…
“What I’m trying to build, I’m not trying to only build business relationships, in every business relationship, I’m trying to bring friendship and family relationships. This is what’s important to me. I’m trying to extend my legacy, so I’m trying to build my own businesses as well.”
Having further developed her brand in her native Poland, Jędrzejczyk is now back on US soil and training at ATT ahead of her long-awaited return to the Octagon.
With Esparza set to challenge for Namajunas’ gold next, the veteran will seemingly have to face another top contender for her comeback before jumping back to the title, as she’d hoped to do in March or April this year.
Given Zhang’s two 2021 setbacks against “Thug Rose,” now may be the perfect time for her to run it back with Jędrzejczyk. And with the Pole seemingly down for a second scrap with “Magnum,” the ball appears to be in the UFC’s court.
Given the way their first fight went, it’s hard to believe anyone would be turning their heads at the chance of seeing the pair share the cage again.
Who would you like to see Joanna Jędrzejczyk face when she returns to the Octagon?
Posted from Source