UFC 217 saw one of the most impressive upsets of all time. A feared champion was handed her first loss by a fighter that some people didn’t think had a chance heading into the bout.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the former strawweight champion of the UFC, had become one of the most feared female fighters in the world. After Ronda Rousey’s fall from grace, Jedrzejczyk was arguably the most formidable woman in all of MMA.
Her confidence and boisterous personality got mixed responses from fans and critics – as such traits always do. Regardless of what the masses thought of her, it was clear that her behavior was a stark contrast from that of her opponent, Rose Namajunas.
Namajunas was quiet and humble leading up to the bout, even during the weigh-ins where Jedrzejczyk was badgering her with harsh words and some of the most vicious trash talk of the year. But once they were in the cage, things went differently.
The result was something almost no one expected – Namajunas dropped her opponent multiple times on the feet, overwhelming her and making her tap to strikes. Those who thought Namajunas would win likely thought she’d take the feared striker to the ground.
But not only did Namajunas hand Jedrzejczyk her first defeat and take the title, but she did so by beating the champ at her own game.
Jedrzejczyk was humble in defeat, in spite of the talk she’d been known for leading up to the fight. After the fight, there was an interesting occurrence as well. Jedrzejczyk parted ways with the nutrition team she’d worked with previously, Perfecting Athletes.
According to the former champ, she had a very hard weight cut that impacted her performance.
“Man, I felt so bad, I had to cut 15 pounds in 14 hours; I did it in 14 hours. I think Perfecting Athletes couldn’t believe I did that. I start my weight cut at 5 pm on Thursday and I was on weight five minutes before 11 am on Friday, so it was a miracle. I was praying to God for this miracle.”
While she hit the mark of 115 pounds, Jedrzejczyk said that she was already feeling numbness in her legs even during that moment. Even after getting rest and rehydrating, she said she was still feeling the effects of the cut. However, she said she desired to continue and try to push through instead of pulling out.
Fighters have been forced to pull out close to fight time before. Amanda Nunes was once forced to withdraw from a title defense the day of the bout. Interestingly, Jedrzejczyk offered to step in and replace her but could not be cleared in time.
Jedrzejczyk said she considered using an IV ahead of her fight with Namajunas but feared it would lead to a cancellation. Jedrzejczyk is expected to face Namajunas in a rematch for the strawweight title at UFC 223. Despite her previous KO loss, she is listed as the favorite.