One of the best female fighters in MMA today is Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Making her debut on May 19, 2012, “JJ” has accumulated an undefeated fight record of 11 wins and no losses. Along the way, she defeated some well-known fighters in her division, including an amazing show of dominance against Jessica Penne and Carla Esparza, the latter earning her the UFC women’s strawweight championship.
Despite her accomplishments, Joanna Jedrzejczyk understands none of it would be possible if it weren’t for Ronda Rousey. MMA fans either love or hate “Rowdy,” but she is primarily responsible for boosting MMA’s popularity to what it is today. She is also responsible for making women visible in the sport. Summarized, Jedrzejczyk understands and respects Rousey. Jedrzejczyk is now asking MMA fans to not forget what Rousey has done to popularize the sport.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk stuck up for Ronda Rousey during an interview with Sherdog. During the interview conducted by Andreas Hale, Jedrzejczyk discussed her thumb injury and rehab, Paige VanZant, Rose Namajunas, and winning multiple titles. Eventually, Jedrzejczyk would be questioned about Ronda Rousey and her devastating loss at the hands of Holly Holm. Instead of analyzing or criticizing Rousey, Jedrzejczyk talked about what the former UFC bantamweight champion has done for MMA.
“We’re all doing this job together. We cannot forget what Ronda did before, for all of us, not just for female fighters, but for all the UFC and MMA all over the world. People cannot look at this just because she lost her last fight, you know? Like I said, she used to be, she used to fight for national U.S. team in Judo. She’s been to the Olympics, she won a medal there. She was a champion so she’s still one of the greatest so people cannot forget about her, you know?”
It is actually nice to hear someone in UFC, or in the MMA community in general, stand up for Ronda Rousey. What Rousey has done for MMA, including popularizing the sport, can never be taken away from her. As a matter of fact, Joanna Jedrzejczyk may be one of the only three prominent figures in MMA (those who’s opinions on the situation matter) who is actually standing alongside Rousey. Besides Jedrzejczyk, UFC president Dana White has made supportive statements for Rousey. The other, believe it or not, is the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Holly Holm.
Unfortunately, most in the MMA community are no longer supportive of Ronda Rousey. Bloody Elbow reported on the scores of fans who criticized Rousey on social media and questioned her future in MMA. Jose Aldo, another former champion in UFC, even went as far as to say that Rousey should quit UFC and MMA altogether and pursue a full-time career in acting.
Jose Aldo’s statement is understandable since he is seeing the pros of full-time acting far more appealing than the cons (not having to make weight, not getting hurt in the cage, a lot higher pay). The MMA community in general automatically believing Rousey’s future in MMA is in jeopardy over one loss is not. There are many previously undefeated fighters who continue to have a career in MMA. What makes Rousey different?
Ultimately, Ronda Rousey isn’t being forgotten. Instead, she is being humanized, taken off that high pedestal of immortality almost everyone had her on. Before, she could say whatever she wanted and do whatever she wanted. That is why she was passed over on domestic abuse allegations as well as getting away with saying that she can beat anyone in MMA. Now, she is subject to the same critical eye as everyone else.
Ronda Rousey will have her chance at avenging her loss sometime in mid-2016 when her rematch against Holly Holm happens. The fight is expected to happen at UFC 200 (which will most likely be known as UFC 200: Holm vs. Rousey 2). As for Joanna Jedrzejczyk, her championship reign is in trouble, as Cláudia Gadelha is said to be next in line to fight her. If anyone knows their MMA history, both Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha fought back in 2014. Jedrzejczyk barely won by split-decision. Yet the MMA community truly believes Gadelha won.
[Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Reebok]