by Dane McGuire
During the UFC 280 pay-per-view broadcast in Abu Dhabi, broadcaster Jon Anik described former UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk as a future Hall of Famer as she appeared on camera in the crowd.
While this is likely going to be true at some point, even she feels it’s too early, expressing so just days before the event. Jedrzejczyk retired in June 2022 at UFC 275 after suffering a second-round knockout loss to Zhang Weili in their strawweight title rematch. The Hall of Fame chatter soon followed.
“I feel so young and I feel like I could be fighting because the last camp was really the best camp of my life,” Jedrzejczyk told MMA Junkie. “It’s hard. I wanted to be the UFC champion one more time — not the Hall of Famer … not the retired old lady. It will be an honor. But we will see. Maybe they will surprise me one day, but I don’t think I’m ready to be a grandma.”
Prior to the loss and her retirement Jedrzejczyk had just signed a new long-term contract with the promotion.
“I thought that I was going fight more because before my last fight I signed a new deal with UFC for six fights,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I feel like it was the right decision for that moment. It isn’t easy. I always wanted to retire on my rules.
I could keep doing this. I’m healthy and I have said that I want to be a businesswoman and be a mom, because the last 19 years I’ve been traveling, training, and working so hard I had no personal life. I used to say I was sacrificing, but no — I’m investing. Now I’m enjoying. We’ll see. I don’t like to do things halfway. I always go 100 percent. We will see. But being a Hall of Famer, it’s a big dream — same as being UFC champion.”
Following the announcement of her retirement, Jedrzejczyk had said she intends to become a manager, recently doubling down on those comments as she hopes to protect other fighters.
“(I want to) Protect them because there’s so many rats that are trying to get a piece of them,” Jedrzejczyk told MMA Junkie. “I want to share my knowledge, you know? So many ups and downs in my fighting career and life in general, but I’m the person who learns from every situation in life.
“I just want to share this with the other fighters and, like I said, somehow protect them.”
Jedrzejczyk cited UFC lightweight Mateusz Gamrot as an example of what she was talking about.
“Before he got into the UFC, he was a two-weight class champion in KSW, and the managers – and I’m an honest person, were like, ‘Gamrot we got you a contract, we got you a contract. Just sign with us. You have to share 20, 30 percent of your fee, but we get you into the UFC.’
Jedrzejczyk said American Top Team head Dan Lambert helped Gamrot enter the UFC.
“Of course, Dan Lambert was responsible and he’s the main person who helps all of us American Top Team fighters, and he almost all, all of us. He helped Mateusz Gamrot get into the UFC. But that’s the way: I want to use my knowledge and my experience to let fighters – just to protect them and help them save as much as they can because tomorrow you can get injured, and you’re not going to be able to fight anymore. That’s the thing.”
Immediately following her retirement ‘JJ’ said she intended to learn about the management side of things from Lambert as well as her manager, Jennifer Goldstein of CAA Combat Sports.
The next UFC Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for July during International Fight Week.