The level of competition in the strawweight division has improved significantly since the title was created in 2014. But the women in the 115-pound division still have a long way to go to get close to champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Jedrzejczyk put on a clinic Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas against Jessica Andrade in the co-main event of UFC 211. She peppered the Brazilian with a stinging jab, destroyed her lead leg with kicks and cracked her repeatedly with a powerful right.
Andrade tried to turn it into a brawl, but was no match for the technical brilliance of Jedrzejczyk, who rolled up her fifth consecutive successful title defense in a unanimous decision victory.
Judges scored it 50-45 twice and 50-44. Yahoo Sports had it 50-45 for Jedrzejczyk.
“Joanna Jedrzejczyk from Poland! Remember that, because no one is taking this belt from me,” Jedrzejczyk said. “No one!”
Andrade tried to close the distance and get inside on Jedrzejczyk, where she could use her physical strength and brawl with the champion. But Jedrzejczyk easily kept her off, mixing her strikes, and forcing Andrade to pay anytime she got within range.
Jedrzejczyk won the title from Carla Esparza on March 14, 2015, in the same arena she bested Andrade on Saturday. But as good as she was in 2015, she’s improved by leaps and bounds and appears as if she’s lapped the field at 115. Only Rose Namajunas seems remotely in Jedrzejczyk’s class at this point.
The UFC has announced it will add a flyweight division, and Jedrzejczyk will probably move to that division sometime next year to chase a second belt.
The sigh of relief you’ll hear will be from her peers at strawweight, who simply have had no answer for Jedrzejczyk’s technical striking game.
With a win in her next fight, she’ll have six consecutive successful title defenses, tying the women’s record Ronda Rousey set at bantamweight from 2013 to 2015.
If she doesn’t tie and then break that mark, it will be the result of one of the most significant upsets in UFC history.
“I said I would defend this title and no one would take it,” Jedrzejczyk said. “We’re making history!”
The only drama in the fight came after it was over when Andrade proposed to her girlfriend, Fernanda, when she was being interviewed by Joe Rogan in the cage after the bout.