Willing to replace Amanda Nunes, Joanna Jedrzejczyk proves no limits to her awesomeness
If there were ever any questions that champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a badass, she made sure to clear them out today.
After an undisclosed illness forced women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) to withdraw from tonight’s UFC 213 main event with Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), undefeated 115-pound titleholder and all-around destroyer of faces Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) quickly offered to step in.
The information was first given to MMAjunkie by UFC President Dana White, but later confirmed by Jedrzejczyk on her Instagram page.
Before the picture was posted on her regular feed, Jedrzejczyk talked about the situation on a live Instagram stream. After teasing the fans with a few clips of shadow work with ATT coach Mike Brown, the fan favorite directly addressed the camera, saying she wasn’t really entirely in fighting shape – but that wouldn’t stop her from “breaking” Shevchenko if it came to it.
“Come on Dana, come on UFC,” she said. “Make it happen. Talk to the commission. Let’s have the medicals done. This is your city. Come on Dana, make it happen. I’m in shape.”
Even former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey got a shoutout in the process.
“OK guys – I just got phone call from Dana, and of course I’m not in shape to fight, 100 percent” Jedrzejczyk said. “But I’m going to be honest with you, if they want me, they need me today, I step into the octagon today. Tonight, I just break Valentina. And I feel sorry to her. Of course, Amanda is sick, it sucks. (Expletive) happens sometimes.
“But yeah. So guys, train hard, train smart, and prepare well for the fight. I will see you later. Let me keep some training. And best regard to Ronda Rousey. I’m so sorry I could come today. Wish I could meet you, you the champ.”
White told MMAjunkie’s John Morgan “Joanna Champion” was game, but the Nevada commission couldn’t push through such a major change on such short notice (via Twitter):
Shevchenko also seemed open to the idea (via Twitter):
While a UFC headliner under these circumstances would certainly be difficult to get approved by any athletic commission, it wouldn’t be the first meeting between Jedrzejczyk and Shevchenko. In fact, their shared muay Thai background had them meeting three times before. Shevchenko, it turns out, won them all.
Losing to the same person three times could certainly be cause for some lingering bad blood, but Jedrzejczyk has made positive comments about Shevchenko in the past. She said the two support each other, and even credited the losses as the type of experience she needed in order to evolve.
“I thought I knew everything,” Jedrzejczyk said last year, before Shevchenko beat ex-champ Holly Holm on a UFC on FOX 20 headlining affair. “But after I lost to Valentina, I realized that there’s a long way to go. I didn’t give up. The experience which I got that time – I just became a UFC champion because of that.”
With the Nunes vs. Shevchenko bout off the UFC 213 card, the co-headliner between Yoel Romero (12-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) vs. Robert Whittaker (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) for the interim middleweight title was promoted to main event.
For more on UFC 213, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.