UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk recently made the brave decision to move to the USA and ATT for her fight camps, from her home and team on Poland.
“This may sound selfish, but I had to think of myself,” said Jedrzejczyk to Przemysław Osiak for Przegladsportowy, as translated by Bartek Stachura for Jim Edwards for FloCombat. “I care about eating well, getting enough sleeping, and being ready to workout, because this will all matter on the day of the fight. I believe now I’ve found the right place, and I have arranged it all myself. When preparing for a fight, I must be selfish. I have to know that I will be able to cope physically and mentally.
“I feel like I’m on a mission now. I miss my loved ones from Olsztyn in Poland, but I have to do what’s best for me to make sure I win.”
“I’m not saying that in Olsztyn I was treated badly–it was very nice. I had a good relationship with my coaches Simon and Paul, as well as my colleagues from Arrachion.
“However, in the USA, MMA is just a lot bigger. In Poland, it’s becoming more popular, but [in the USA] right now the UFC simply enormous. I walk down the street and people recognize me and are surprised to meet me. It’s as if they think the best UFC fighters live on other planets.”
“There are Poles there–Krzysztof Jotko is someone who I can talk Polish to. I get on well with Jessica Aguilar who had been very helpful to me. She once said she wanted to fight me, but then she lost to Claudia Gadelha and is now coming back from injury.
“Everyone here is very kind to me. People offer to spend time with me and to go out to the city as they know I’m new. Most my time I spend with Dr. Michelle and my dietician Paulina of Perfecting Athletes. I also go to Sunday Mass as it’s very important to me. I go to a church very near Coconut Creek and the priest is very cool and can tell a good joke. I really like that there are a lot of Poles here, like in Las Vegas, After Mass, people recognize me and take pictures with me and visit me at ATT.”
As sunny as life in Coconut Creek is now, it was a little cold at first, as Jedrzejczyk was stepping into a team with strawweight contenders.
“To be honest first days were… quite difficult,” said Jedrzejczyk. “Girls weren’t amazed that I’m here. Valerie, Amanda Nunes, Nina Ansaroff, and Tecia Torres seemed to be saying to themselves ‘What is Jedrzejczyk doing here?’ Valerie I beat, Tecia dropped in rankings, Nina hasn’t fought for a long time… What are we even talking about? What kind of threat am I to them? What kind of threat are they to me?
“After a few days, one of them said ‘Joanna is a beast.’ I think they finally saw what it takes to get on top, to get that belt, and defend it. Jessica Aguilar stuck up for me and said ‘Girls, why are you gossiping about Joanna? Let’s train normally and just learn from the best in the world.’ They thought that I came there only for a while. And I think that I found a place to train at for the rest of my career.”