UFC: Joanna Going After Champ Champ Status

Joanna Jedrzejczyk took the time to apologize to the women’s 125-lb division while on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show for skipping everybody in line to a title shot. Notable names took to social media to complain about the unofficial title shot even targeting Ariel Helwani for bringing the idea to light.

The love for the Boogeywoman is not as strong as it used to be during her title reign, but given the unfortunate circumstances of the former 125-lb champion, Nicco Montano, it’s Joanna to the rescue. The women’s flyweight division is in its infancy and the best way to present it to the MMA audience should be with the best available matchup.

While it’s true that Jedrzejczyk has no history competing at 125 lbs, she’s got a valid excuse for her absence. One being that the division was not present when she entered the UFC and the second being that she was too busy trying to recapture the women’s UFC strawweight title that she previously held onto for over two years.

While Sijara Eubanks accuses Ariel Helwani of “brown nosing” it’s worth noting that Eubanks was initially supposed to be competing in the season 26 TUF finale title bout against Nicco Montano last December. Kidney failure during her weight cut led to Eubanks’ exit from the finale. Her returning victory against Lauren Murphy in June wasn’t enough for the UFC to re-insert her back into the title picture.

The UFC didn’t seem interested in giving Eubanks the shot after watching Valentina Shevchenko maul Priscilla Cachoeira in her 125-lb debut in February. Shevchenko has some stellar wins on her resume against names like Holly Holm, Juliana Pena and fought to a close decision against the current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.

The UFC have favored fighters outside a division over current division contenders several times in the past so their decision should come as no surprise. For all those complaining about the situation, I wonder if they did the same for Demetrious Johnson who was in similar territory a year ago.

If anything someone like Eubanks or Jessy Jess or Jessica Eye or any other 125-lb woman named Jessica can benefit from challenging and potentially dethroning Shevchenko or Jedrzejczyk – should she decide to remain in the division. A win over a former UFC champion or former 135-lb title contender who defeated Jedrzejczyk three times in Muay Thai competition would look great on any resume.

Whichever side of the argument you find yourself on, there is no denying that fans and members of the UFC roster are invested in the new division a lot more than they previously were. That counts for something and the fact that Jedrzejczyk hinted at the bout taking place before year’s end means critics won’t have to wait long for the division to move in the direction they want it to.

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