Who is Joanna Jędrzejczyk?
Joanna Jędrzejczyk is a thirty-five-year-old Polish former female mixed martial artist (MMA) and Muaythai kickboxer champion. During a fight with Weili Zhang, Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s forehead developed a hematoma due to blows delivered by the opponent, Joanna Jędrzejczyk before and after forehead photos say it all.
Born on August 18, 1987, she was discovered as a teenager and has won many multiple championships and holds various titles in the sport, including awards.
What Caused Her Head Injury?
On March 7, 2020, at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), she faced Weili Zhang, the first Chinese UFC fighter champion in history, at UFC 248. Some have called the historical fight between the two opponents the greatest fight in women’s MMA history.
Although Joanna Jędrzejczyk lost via a split decision, she received the Fight of the Night award, awarded to the two most impressive fighters of the night.
However, this was also the night when she got her head injury. The fight went on for the full five rounds. During the third round, Zhang delivered a series of successive rapid, repeated blows to the head of Jędrzejczyk, causing a hematoma, which is the blood collection outside the blood vessels.
The injury resulted in an abnormal swelling on Jędrzejczyk’s forehead. Despite the head injury, she lasted two more rounds and was rushed to the hospital soon after the fight and discharged the next day.
During an interview on MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast, Jędrzejczyk stated that “I couldn’t see out my left eye for two days,” she added. “I had a vision of only five percent in my left eye – it was pretty rough. It is what it is; the swelling went down.” The bruising cleared within two weeks, leaving her with no permanent damage.
On June 11, 2022, Jędrzejczyk and Zhang had a rematch where Jędrzejczyk lost the fight as a knockout due to spinning back fists by Zhang.
The Number of Blows and the Time It Took
The brawl Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and lasted 25 minutes of five rounds, each lasting five minutes.
There were 784 attempted blows between the opponents, with 351 landed blows. Jędrzejczyk had a 50 percent strike landing accuracy delivering 186 blows, while Zhang was less accurate, landing 40 percent of the attempted blows totaling 165 significant strikes; however, Zhang was much more active than Jędrzejczyk.
During the third round, Zhang hit Jędrzejczyk with several fast successive jabs, resulting in swelling around the eyes and a hematoma. Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s face was left battered and bruised and barely recognizable.
Amazingly, the Polish UFC fighter continued the fight for the next two rounds, making it the best women’s UFC fight in history. They also won the Fight of the Night award, and this was Zhang’s 21st straight victory.
Are They Still Competing?
Joanna Jędrzejczyk started as a Muaythai kickboxer at the age of 16. She went in to compete for ten years, winning five gold and one silver at the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA).
She also won four IFMA European championships with 37 wins and three losses. During her decade as a kickboxer, she won 60 matches and five world titles, including World Kickboxing Network World Championship and J- Girls Championship.
She also has titles in World Bare Knuckles Championship, World Karate Federation European Championship, and the World Muaythai Championship. Her professional record as a kickboxer is 27-3.
In May 2012, Jędrzejczyk made her debut at the Standout Fighting Tournament (SFT) – MMA Fight Night Diva SPA, winning unanimously against Sylwia Juskiewicz in the MMA flyweight division.
In July 2014, Jędrzejczyk joined the UFC under the MMA strawweight division for fighters weighing between 106 and 115 lb (48 to 52 kg). Jędrzejczyk won against the undefeated Cláudia Gadelha via split decision; however, this win was controversial as the media favored Gadelha.
Jędrzejczyk went on to win nine straight fights becoming the UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion in March 2015 after defeating Carla Esparza at UFC 185 with a technical knockout (TKO) in the second round. This fight saw Jędrzejczyk become the first UFC titleholder from Poland and the first female European UFC champion. On this night, she also won the Performance of the Night Bonus.
In June 2015, during Jędrzejczyk vs. Penne on UFC Fight Night in Berlin, Germany, Jędrzejczyk broke her thumb and had to undergo surgery after the match. She successfully defended her title via a TKO during the third round.
During the fight with Valérie Létourneau, which she won via unanimous decision, Jędrzejczyk set the record for the highest significant strike, 220, the most-ever championship fight at UFC 193. In the same match, which happened on November 5, 2015, she set a record for most leg kicks at 70 from the previous record of 68 by Carlos Condit.
Jędrzejczyk’s undefeated streak continued for the next two years, defeating fellow Pole Karolina Kowalkiewicz on November 12, 2015, at Madison Square Garden, and on May 13, 2017, Jędrzejczyk won a match against Jéssica Andrade. The streak ended when she lost her championship to Rose Namajunas in November 2017 while defending her title for the sixth time.
After the defeat, Jędrzejczyk returned to flyweight, the division for fighters 116 to 125 lb (53 to 57 kg). Competing under the MMA flyweight division at UFC 231, Jędrzejczyk lost the fight against Valentina Shevchenko via a unanimous decision.
On October 12, 2019, Jędrzejczyk returned to strawweight, facing Michelle Waterson and winning unanimously. In 2020 at UFC 248, Jędrzejczyk lost to Weili Zhang through a bloody and violent fight that left Jędrzejczyk’s head disfigured with a hematoma.
A rematch of the Zhang vs. Jędrzejczyk brawl was on 11 June 2022 at UFC 275, and Jędrzejczyk lost again.
After 20 years as a kickboxer and mixed martial professional, Jędrzejczyk announced her retirement at the press conference after the match. She said she wanted to focus on starting a family and becoming a businesswoman.
Jędrzejczyk’s MMA record includes 16 wins and five losses.
She has multiple media awards, including the 2015 Female Fighter of the Year by Fight Matrix and MMA Junkie.
Jędrzejczyk utilizes the “sprawl and brawl” MMA fighting strategy and is known for taking precise and calculated strikes. To confuse her opponent, Jędrzejczyk uses a barrage of strikes before landing a solid strike, a common approach by other well-known MMA fighters. Her fights are violent and bloody, which MMA fans have commended and found remarkable.
Jędrzejczyk’s personality is soft-spoken and endearing toward her fans but changes to trash talk toward her opponents.
Jędrzejczyk is now retired and lives in Poland, running her business and modeling. In January 2021, Jedrzejczyk released a biography called Czarno Na Bialym on her journey as a kickboxer and an MMA fighter. During her career as an athlete, her earnings, estimated at $2.29 million, were from fights, sponsorships, and endorsements.
The Word’s Out
Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s head injury was due to a fight against Zhang Weili, which caused a hematoma that temporarily disfigured her face. The photos of Joanna Jedrzejczyk before and after Zhang are horrifying; you can barely recognize her.
Her doctor was concerned that the hematoma would pop; however, it subdued in two days.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, now retired, has been termed the greatest female strawweight fighter of all time, even by well-known former MMA champion Daniel Cormier.