MMA fans are counting down the hours until Saturday’s UFC event in Berlin where Polish powerhouse Joanna Jedrzejczyk will defend her strawweight championship against former Invicta titleholder Jessica Penne.
In the days leading up to the fight, both competitors have taken their verbal shots at each other. Penne said she would submit Jedrzejczyk, who posting a picture of herself eating pasta with the caption “who wants penne?” – a direct reference to her opponent. If she had wanted to be more entertaining she could have posted the image of her devouring the pasta and quoting Mike Tyson, “Jessica, I want to eat your children.”
Penne responded, saying Jedrzejczyk looked like Gollum and she would be “eating her punches.” Jedrzejczyk said Penne would feel “Polish power.” The former Invicta champion said Jedrzejczyk looked like Gollum and the UFC titleholder said she had some “surprises.” It’s been a fun exchange so far.
In regards to the food, Jedrzejczyk used a similar tactic before her fight with Carla Esparza, giving the former champion a cookie at the weigh in – a reference to Esparza’s nickname “Cookie Monster.” Imagine if she took a catchweight bout against Miesha “Cupcake” Tate or Sarah “Cheesecake” Moras.
I apologize for the food imagery fight fans, though you have to admit that Jedrzejczyk’s tactics are interesting. What’s also intriguing is Penne’s mindset for the fight. She spouted some comments about taking the belt from Jedrzejczyk via submission – not surprising since Penne has seven submission wins to her credit. However, Penne’s vision has shifted to a former rival, specifically fellow former Invicta champion and UFC newcomer Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson.
During a media lunch, Penne said she had been asking for a rematch with Waterson for many years. The two squared off in 2013 where Waterson submitted Penne in the fourth round to win Invicta’s 105-pound strap. Fans anticipated a rematch between the two in the Invicta cage, however it never came to be.
Penne rebounded from her loss to submit Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc at Invicta FC 6 and eventually signed with the UFC to compete on “TUF 20.” Waterson had one successful title defense against Yasuko Tamada before she lost the belt to Brazilian prospect Herica Tiburcio. Some criticized Invicta for Waterson’s fight against Tamada, saying it too easy. I argued that Penne deserved the first crack at Waterson and speculate that Invicta may have been protecting The Karate Hottie. Again that’s just speculation.
Waterson is now in the UFC but Penne will have to wait rematch as she has a bigger date with destiny.
It’s understandable that Penne would want revenge, but some would argue that her mind should be entirely focused on Jedrzejczyk and their fight. Is this a case of a veteran like Penne overlooks Jedrzejczyk, who is the champion but is still relatively new in the eyes of American fans.
Or perhaps Penne is just giving fans a peek at her hit list after she faces Jedrzejczyk. In the interview, she also said she wanted to fight Carla Esparza, who eliminated her from the semifinals in the “TUF 20” tournament.
I guess we really won’t know until Penne and Jedrzejczyk step into the octagon. If the fight is anything like their trash talk, it should be entertaining.