To quote Pink Floyd,” Joanna Jedrzejczyk needs thumb surgery.”
Alright, there was my futile attempt to break news that some fans already know. As reported on UFC Tonight last Wednesday, the UFC women’s strawweight champion won’t require surgery to fix her broken thumb, which is a small light of good news in the mixed martial arts world as fans wait for the final fate of the July 11 Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor featherweight fight.
Jedrzejczyk rocked the MMA world last week after she successfully defended her title against former Invicta atomweight champion Jessica Penne. It was an action-packed affair where the Polish powerhouse used her superb striking and takedown defense, and eventually finished a bloodied – and tough- Penne late in the third round. It was a nice bout for fans who may have been underwhelmed with the Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice “fight.” Sure, Bellator did well in the rating and got some buzz going, but comparing that fight and Jedrzejczyk-Penne is like comparing horse manure to ice cream.
The fight also a monumental victory for Jedrzejczyk. Similar to Chris Weidman’s first 12 months as the UFC middleweight champion, critics looked at Jedrzejczyk’s title win over former champion Carla Esparza, as well as the victory over heir-apparent Claudia Gadelha, as flukes. This win gives her the credibility as a legitimate champion because it’s one thing to win a title, it’s another to successfully defend it. In post fight interviews, Jedrzejczyk said she wanted to be the “Ronda Rousey” of the women’s 115-pound division and she’s certainly on her way to do that.
Jedrzejczyk also said she plans on taking time away from the cage. While fans – including myself – can’t wait to see the Polish powerhouse back in the octagon, there are some benefits for her in taking time off.
Although she doesn’t need the surgery, her thumb still needs to heal. Keeping our fingers and toes are important – and I’m not just saying that because I smashed my big toe on my bed frame and have been walking funny and cursing more than a drunken sailor. Jedrzejczyk’s striking is her bread and butter and a damaged thumb could cause her problems. Of course Jedrzejczyk is a multiple time Muay Thai champion and she’s probably fought with one broken finger – or several. However, she’ll be using MMA gloves and an injured thumb is an easy target. Time off could also heal – or prevent – any new or reoccurring injuries that fans and the media – or Jedrzejczyk – doesn’t know about.
Time away also gives Jedrzejczyk a chance to scout the competition. The UFC has several strawweight bouts on tap: Paige VanZant vs. Alex Chambers, Joanne Calderwood vs. Bec Rawlings and Maryna Moroz vs. Valerie Letourneau. There’s also the upcoming debuts of former world champions Michelle Waterson (vs. Angela Magana) and Jessica Aguilar (vs. Gadelha). Jedrzejczyk can sit back and keep an eye out for her next challenger, which I think could be VanZant, Waterson or Aguilar. Of the three, Agauilar not only poses the biggest threat to Jedrzejczyk’s title reign but also comes in with the most hype. To many, she is the No. 1 strawweight in the world. A win over “Jag” will solidify the UFC champion’s place at the to of the women’s 115-pound mountain.
And let’s be honest, Jedrzejczyk deserve a nice break. In the span of seven months, she’s picked up the three biggest wins of her career and conquered opponents who were considered unbeatable. She’s already earned enough wins to be considered a “Fighter of the Year” – male or female.
That said, I’m sure we’ll see the Polish Powerhouse back in the octagon before the end of the year or early 2016. We’ll be waiting.