Joanna Jedrzejczyk had actually just returned to her locker space after a brutal battle with Zhang Weili at UFC 248.
Jedrzejczyk had actually fought to the surface in what was, according to UFC president Dana White, “among the very best” contests in MMA history.
The Polish fighter understood her face was damaged. She simply didn’t realise simply just how much up until she looked in the mirror.
” I resembled ‘holy moly’,” she told BBC Sport. “I looked like a zombie.”
‘ JJ’ had a gruesome swelling on her forehead. Among her eyes had inflamed shut. She had suffered a big haematoma.
Her twin sis had to assist her take a shower before the fighter, 32, spent the night in a Las Vegas health center.
” One day I’ll publish images of how I looked,” she said. “It was so funny; some people didn’t even acknowledge me.”
Fortunately she can laugh about it now; the result still harms, however.
Currently thought about a MMA fantastic, Jedrzejczyk aimed to restore the strawweight title on 7 March from Weili, who was making her first defence after ending up being China’s very first UFC champion.
Weili’s ideal eye closed up early, then Jedrzejczyk’s forehead started swelling in the 3rd round. The swollen section got so huge that her physio hesitated it would break. “It could’ve scarred half my face,” said Jedrzejczyk.
” It was so uncomfortable. For a split-second, I questioned if I should stop, however I was still going forward.”
The set traded blows for 5 rounds. In 25 minutes they exchanged 351 considerable strikes – the third-most in UFC history. Jedrzejczyk tossed more, 186 in fact – the most ever in a UFC defeat – as Weili clinched a split decision.
Regardless of the swelling, the Pole didn’t suffer any permanent damage – but for a “broken heart and a scar on my soul”.
Within 2 days, the swelling had actually gone. At one point, the bruising practically covered her entire face – however within 3 weeks that had cleared too.
” I knew I ‘d heal,” Jedrzejczyk stated. “I was more mad at myself since I wished to have a few nice days in Vegas with my pals and family! However this is the rate we pay. I’ve been doing this for 17 years so I know the game.”
Jedrzejczyk’s course to UFC started when she tried kick-boxing to drop weight and “fell in love” with it, becoming a several Muay Thai world champion prior to switching to MMA in 2012.
” I enjoy to challenge myself,” she stated. “Limitations are just in our heads, and every day I was working on the edge. Every day I faced my worries.
” Mixed Martial Arts’s violent, however it’s not almost smashing individuals. For me, it has to do with the sport, the competitors, the respect.”
Looking after herself – and her future – indicates a lot to Jedrzejczyk. If the state of mind takes her, she’ll wear a gown and high heels for UFC occasions.
” I’m an athlete but I’m a female too and I wish to appear like one,” she said. “This sport can change your body and your mind, and it’s a huge thing for females. I’m delighted the UFC take good care people since in the future I want to be a mum and a businesswoman.”
One take a look at her Instagram – which lists her sponsorship deals – tells you she’s currently business savvy, but she hopes to study for an MBA and own a coffee store. Throughout the lockdown, she has actually started Spanish and piano lessons.
” There is life outside the fitness center,” she added. “My most significant opponent is time due to the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day and I have so numerous things going on.
” I’m simply attempting to live my best life. In or out of the cage, with or without the belt, I bring myself as a champ and work on my legacy, every single day.”
She’s also captured up with James Arthur. The British singer-songwriter found her name while doing an Instagram Live and gave her a shout-out, stating she’s “one of my preferred sportspeople in the world”.
They’ve corresponded since Jedrzejczyk messaged Arthur to state the walk-out tune for her fight with Michelle Waterson last October would be ‘Back from the Edge’, the title track of his 2016 album.
” I love his lyrics and how he is, he’s a terrific guy,” she said. “We support each other. It took a long journey to be where he is. Music and sport are the very same, and if you wish to be, state, a star, a legal representative or a surgeon – you need to believe in yourself and strive.”
That song choice was apt. Jedrzejczyk had actually lost three of her previous 4 battles. However success over Waterson and her efficiency versus Weili means her UFC legacy hasn’t been written right now.
” It showed that I’m still one of the very best,” she stated. “I was the champ for a factor, I’m still completing at a champion level and people desire to see a rematch. I will be back.”
- Jedrzejczyk beats Waterson in spite of ‘broken foot’
- Conor McGregor ranks himself 2nd in ‘GOAT’ UFC fighters list
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