Is Carla Esparza scared of Weili Zhang? Joanna Jedrzejczyk certainly thinks so and she told The Schmo as much in a recent interview suggesting that the champion might be deliberately stalling,
“It’s her choice, her decision, the matchmakers, Dana (White) but we’ve been told that the winner of mine and Weili (Zhang’s) fight was going to be the next challenger for the strawweight belt. Definitely Weili Zhang deserves the title shot. And I know that Carla might be scared but it’s her choice. She’s the champ.”
Spinning back fist
Jedrzejczyk knows the American well, having scored a second round knockout victory over her to win the UFC strawweight belt back in 2015. The Pole was involved in a bout with Zhang that was billed as a title eliminator at UFC 275 in Singapore last month.
The Chinese fighter landed a spinning back fist in round two to finish the fight and earn the title shot. Jedrzejczyk subsequently left her gloves in the octagon to announce she would be retiring from the sport.
Jedrzejczyk holds numerous records and was the longest reigning champion in the history of the strawweight division. She told The Schmo that she is considering becoming a professional racing driver,
“I need to sit and think about my legacy. I just launched my supplement company, my sports equipment line. I want to be back to driving racing cars. If I do one more race I will become pro and I can do competitions and different races.”
— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 12, 2022
All time great
She also has a charity and wants to help up and coming mixed martial artists in her native Poland,
“I (also) want to be focusing on my ‘JJ Stars’ foundation and start helping all these kids. I want to be the greatest manager. I’ve been through so many things. I went from nothing to something and I want to teach this young generation how to do it,” she said.
While Zhang and Esparza are still trying to establish themselves in the pantheon of all time greats Jedrzejczyk believes she is already there. The Pole thinks she is one of the four greatest female fighters of all time,
“Ronda Rousey, me and Amanda Nunes who became the first champion in two different weight classes. And Valentina (Shevchenko) as well.”