‘I Was Really Broke’- Joanna Jedrzejczyk Details Almost Retiring From MMA

Published 05/15/2021, 5:45 AM EDT
TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 8: Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland enters the ring prior to her fight against Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan in a flyweight bout during the UFC 231 event at Scotiabank Arena on December 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)


Former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk detailed the struggles she faced early in her career. Like many MMA fighters, Jedrzejczyk also contemplated hanging up the gloves because of the financial strain of training for fights. She explained that not long before she signed to the UFC, the toll of her financial struggles almost ended the story.

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It’s not uncommon for MMA fighters to be engaged in a second occupation to supplement their training lifestyle. Sometimes, these fighters even face thoughts of quitting. What’s more, this isn’t only seen with non-UFC fighters. The UFC’s first Polish champion was no exception.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk pulls back the curtain

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The former 115-pound champion explained that just before she entered the UFC, she was broke and couldn’t get a fight. As luck would have it, just as she was about to quit, she was presented with a career-changing opportunity. Joanna Jedrzejczyk fought UFC veteran Rosi Sexton. She secured an emphatic victory in the fight and changed her fortunes.

In a chat with BJPenn.com, she said, “Six months before I signed with the UFC, I wanted to quit and I was really broke and I was training, there was no fights, I got new management, I signed with Invicta [FC]. But there was no fights, it was a really rough time for Invicta.

I was in camp for such a long time and there was no money, no sponsors. I got a little bit of money but I hit three fights with my UFC debut in three months and my life got changed.”

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“I didn’t give up. I won the fight in my town, some small show, and two weeks after I got a call from Cage Warriors to face Rosi Sexton, and my coaches and my manager didn’t want me [to] but they said, ‘Okay, it’s your decision,’ and I said, ‘Take this fight in two weeks, we win this fight, and we’ll sign with the UFC.’

I knock Rosi Sexton [out] in the second round… Three days after the fight I got a phone call from [UFC Matchmaker] Sean Shelby and I did it. I did my UFC debut five weeks later.”

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And the rest, they say, is history. Joanna Jedrzejczyk blew the door of the promotion and captured undisputed gold. She looked virtually unstoppable under the bright lights. The Pole went on to become a key figure in women’s MMA. Despite suffering some recent setbacks, she remains a major player in the strawweight division.

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Darryl Pinto

1875 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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