A match-up that threatens to steal the show tonight at the extremely stacked UFC 217 is Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s title defense against Rose Namajunas. It speaks to Jedrzejczyk’s presence and dominance in the sport that, among a name like Georges St-Pierre and one of the best fights on paper ever between Cody Garbrant and TJ Dillashaw, she holds her own. The combination of her skills and aura have written Namajunas off as someone who is a good fighter, but just not enough. MMA fighters as well as some prominent professionals in the business seem to agree.
“MAN, JOANNA [JEDRZEJCZYK]. SHE’S A BEAST. I DON’T SEE ANYBODY IN THAT DIVISION TAKING THAT TITLE AWAY FROM HER, MAN. I WOULDN’T WANT TO STEP INTO THE OCTAGON WITH HER EVEN THOUGH SHE’S LIKE, WHAT, 115LBS? SHE DOES WORK, MAN. I WOULD NOT WANT TO STEP OUT THERE WITH HER. GREAT STRIKING, GREAT MUAY THAI, GOOD MOVEMENT, GOOD TAKEDOWN DEFENSE, AND SHE’S JUST A BETTER ALL-AROUND FIGHTER THAN HER OPPONENT [ROSE NAMAJUNAS].” —STEPHEN THOMPSON
We’ve seen this situation before though. A seemingly invincible female fighter who begins to forecast huge things in the future, even retiring undefeated, only to be halted by an opponent the fans and media alike counted out. Does it sound familiar? Joanna Jedrzejczyk may not be Ronda Rousey, but we can’t ignore the upset potential of a fighter like Rose Namajunas. Although, it’s hard to see the forest through the pines.
“YOU KNOW, IT’S SUCH AN INTERESTING FIGHT BECAUSE STYLISTICALLY, IT’S GREAT. I KNOW ROSE [NAMAJUNAS] IS SERIOUSLY JUST GAME TO GET OUT THERE, I FEEL LIKE SHE’S JUST SHY OF BEING 100-PERCENT READY. IF SHE HAD MAYBE TWO OR THREE MORE FIGHTS I FEEL LIKE IT’D BE THE PERFECT MATCH-UP. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE SHE HAD THAT LOSS AGAINST KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ WHO WENT ON TO FIGHT JEDRZEJCZYK. SO, IT MIGHT BE A ANOTHER SITUATION SIMILAR TO THAT. IT OCULD DO TO A DECISION. ROSE DEFINITELY HAS THE EDGE GRAPPLING, BUT BEING ABLE TO TAKE JOANNA DOWN WOULD BE REALLY, REALLY HARD. I FEEL LIKE IT MIGHT MAKE IT EKE OUT TO A DECISION.”— LFA STRAWWEIGHT LINSEY WILLIAMS.
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 11/4/2017.