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Joanna Jedrzejczyk: UFC 275 rematch with Zhang Weili will be a ‘medical procedure’

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SINGAPORE – Joanna Jedrzejczyk insists she’s at her best going into Saturday’s UFC 275 rematch with Zhang Weili. Now it’s just time to produce a performance that aligns with that feeling.

Jedrzejczyk (21-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC), a former longtime UFC strawweight champion, returns to the octagon after more than two years this weekend when she runs it back with Weili (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) in the featured bout on the pay-per-view main card at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The last time Jedrzejczyk stepped into the cage was UFC 248 in March 2020, when she lost a split decision to Weili in an all-time classic Fight of the Year. The time off has been beneficial, Jedrzejczyk said, because she got many of her personal affairs in order, received a new UFC contract with a pay upgrade, and got to come back to a matchup she wanted.

“It was my personal decision to not fight,” Jedrzejczyk told MMA Junkie. “The first break I took was after the fight with Valentina Shevchenko. I needed that. When I was the UFC champ, I was fighting very often. I was very active. One of the reasons I took a longer break was the time for myself. We don’t have the balance between the private life and the business and sports life. Then there was no fans at the arena and for me, there is no sport, any sport, without fans. I’m happy I can perform in front of thousands of people in the arena or watching TV.”

Jedrzejczyk, 35, said she’s physically and mentally “in the best shape ever” coming into UFC 275. That might sound cliché, but she insists it’s true. A nearly five-month camp at American Top Team in Florida and a precision weight cut with the UFC Performance Institute has Jedrzejczyk firing on all cylinders she expects it to reflect in her performance.

As Jedrzejczyk has taken time off, Weili has remained slightly more active. She had a pair of UFC title fights against Rose Namajunas that didn’t go her way, and now Weili goes from being on a 21-fight unbeaten streak when she first fought Jedrzejczyk, to now being on a two-fight losing skid.

It’s hard to know exactly what those numbers mean in the grand scheme, but Jedrzejczyk is of the opinion that Weili has lost a step – however minor it may be.

“I think that she’s not the same after our first fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “Of course I lost, but she’s not the same. But she’s still one of the most dangerous in the division. It’s going to be a hell of a fight.”

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When Jedrzejczyk and Weili first went to battle 27 months ago, it was a grueling five-round fight with a championship on the line. This time, however, there is no gold up for grabs, and the fight is only scheduled for three rounds.

Jędrzejczyk is known as one of the most high-paced and high-output fighters in the sport, and it’s rare that she fights for only 15 minutes. Because of this, she expects to be able to push even harder than usual.

“I just have to put the gas pedal down and be first, violent, but smart from the first seconds of the fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “There is no time to be wasted in this fight, so we have to play my game from the first seconds of the fight.”

Although the expectations are for Jedrzejczyk and Weili to put on a repeat of their memorable first meeting, the Polish fighter said her mindset going into UFC 275 is geared toward dominance.

“It’s going to be medical procedure,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I’m going to be the best surgeon and I will pick the right tools and use them at the right time. Sharp.”