Ronda Rousey, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) reigning women’s bantamweight champion, is keeping a close eye on her peers and is rooting for the latest big name in women’s competition: straw weight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The straw weight champion's latest title defense against Jessica Penne, in Berlin, earned her a new follower in Rousey, who could not hide her admiration for the Polish champion in a recent social media post.
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) June 20, 2015
Rousey's reaction came after the 27-year-old undefeated Jedrzejczyk proved to be too much for Penne, who absorbed a flurry of strikes that left her bruised and bloodied in Round 3. The domination forced the referee to stop the fight and give Jedrzejczyk her first title-defense win. By relying on her standup game, she also avoided much of Penne’s takedown attempts, including one successful instance which she thwarted by immediately regaining her stance. This performance led the victor to proclaim her greatness to the world.
"I cannot respond to my opponents," Jedrzejczyk said. "She's supposed to win this title, but I was ready for her. So I put on a great performance. I cannot help that I'm simply the best."
After Rousey praised her, Jedrzejczyk expressed her gratitude by citing the respect she has for the former Olympian. The similarities between the two fighters are eerily similar, with both hailing from an athletic childhood background. The two champions also aim to improve other facets of their game. Rousey and Jedrzejczyk are mirroring their areas of expertise, given that the former is a master judoka while the latter is a famed striker.
Jedrzejczyk’s rise in UFC has been unexpected, with the mixed martial arts world having tagged Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas as the possible next faces of women’s MMA. But the Polish champion has exceeded expectations after trouncing Claudia Gadelha via split decision and knocking out inaugural straw weight champion Esparza in a fight in March.