UFC champion left ‘disfigured’ to return to Octagon

Former UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will return to the Octagon next month, two years after being left disfigured in her last fight.

Jedrzejczyk hasn’t fought in the UFC since a brutal battle with Weili Zhang in March 2020. Labelled by some as the greatest female MMA fight of all time, Zhang emerged victorious thanks to a narrow points verdict.

But the contest took its toll on Jedrzejczyk, who was left unrecognisable at the final bell. Her forehead immediately ballooned to over double its normal size, making her look disfigured as a result of the brutal punishment she took inside the Octagon.

When the swelling eventually subsidized, her face was left covered in bruises. It took just 18 days for her face to return to normal – and now she’s planning a return to UFC after putting pen to paper on a new six-fight deal with the organisation.

The former strawweight champion will begin the latest chapter in her MMA career against a familiar opponent, with Zhang first on her agenda UFC 275 on June 11.

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Jedrzejczyk’s forehead ballooned in size immediately after the fight

She told MMA Fighting: “It’s a multiple-fight deal. I always said that I want to retire in the UFC, and of course people would love to see me doing this or that after, but I feel like if I retired from MMA, I would retire from the UFC, the best MMA league in the world.

“I don’t want to go somewhere and fight for this bigger money. Money is not everything. I’ve saved enough money for myself, for my kids, for my grandkids probably, but it’s not only about the money.”

“You need to have this pride in you and you have to know what to do and how to prioritise some things. This is what I’m trying to do.

The Polish warrior suffered a shocking hematoma in defeat to Zhang Weili
The Polish warrior suffered a shocking hematoma in defeat to Zhang Weili

‘I’m happy where I’m at right now,’ Jedrzejczyk added. “It’s not only the money I can get for the fight, but also some bonuses and some exposure, how I can make some ways to make it work so I can get more connections, more business relationships.

“This is how I look at it. Every sponsorship deal that I sign, I don’t look only at the numbers.” I look at the exposure — how much money they want to invest, they want to put my face, my body, if it’s going to be billboards, TV, media exposure.

Jedrzejczyk will make her UFC comeback next month
Jedrzejczyk will make her UFC comeback next month

“I always calculate and see these things. It’s not just about the zeroes, it’s about the investment from the other side. I’m very happy where I’m at right now.”

Jedrzejczyk is regarded as one of the greatest female UFC fighters of all time, and fans are already looking forward to seeing her back in the Octagon against Zhang next month.


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