“I will go down to 115,” Jedrzejczyk said today at a guest fighter media session ahead of Saturday’s UFC 234. “I need some time to refresh my body, refresh my mind and I feel the fire. People define me as an athlete after my victory or lost fights, but I put on great camps. Before my last camp I was quality over quantity, but I did both. I’ve been working really hard for the last few years and I will be back stronger.”
Prior to a pair of losses to current 115-pound champ Rose Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk was the longest reigning champion in divisional history. She recorded five consecutive title defenses, but losing back-to-back fights to Namajunas put her in a difficult position in the weight class.
The opportunity to fight Shevchenko for the vacant 125-pound belt at UFC 231 was one Jedrzejczyk couldn’t turn down, she said. It was a difficult fight for her as she was largely outstruck and overpowered through five rounds, and Jedrzejczyk said the latter was a result of not being entirely prepared for the weight.
“I am very happy that I could face Valentina Shevchenko and I didn’t feel the power of her punches, but definitely I felt her clinch. That’s the thing: That fight with Valentina went on and off, on and off so I didn’t have time to prepare physically for this fight. In the clinch she was super, super strong. My takedown defense is very good, but it was like a body lock." Jedrzejczyk said.
“I’m proud of myself, I did good. She didn’t smash my face, but definitely if I want to compete at 125 I need to put muscle on and build the power. I couldn’t do that with Valentina Shevchenko because I had still planned to go to 115.”
Since the loss, Jedrzejczyk said she hasn’t been back in the gym for roughly two months. She said the extended break came at the advice of American Top Team coach Mike Brown, and Jedrzejczyk has used it well with plenty of travel around the globe.
Jedrzejczyk will return to her native Poland following Saturday’s UFC 234 event, though, and said she intends to begin training. It comes at the perfect time, too, because Namajunas (8-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) was just booked for a title defense against Jessica Andrade (19-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) at UFC 237 in May, and Jedrzejczyk said she has vested interest in that bout.
“I was getting mad at Rose, Of course she’s the champ, but I was a busy champion. You cannot wait. You must defend your belt once in a year and I’m very happy I heard about this fight is happening. Definitely I want to go to Brazil and watch this fight. 99 percent I will go to Brazil to watch this fight live.”
Jedrzejczyk would ideally like to challenge the winner of Namajunas vs. Andrade, but she may have to beat another contender before doing so. She said she has no specific opponent in mind if that’s the case, but knows there’s plenty of depth at strawweight.
“This division is the lightest in the UFC but it’s definitely one of the strongest, I don’t know who is next. … I want to fight for the belt. I might have one fight before but I want to fight for a belt.”