DALLAS — Joanna Violence? Joanna Champion? Whatever you call her, know that when Joanna Jedrzejczyk competes, it’s a must-watch attraction.
The queen of the UFC strawweight division will look to extend her ferocious title run on Saturday at UFC 211 when she takes on former friend and sparring partner Jessica Andrade at the very same site her reign began, Dallas’ American Airlines Center, where two years ago Jedrzejczyk stunned the MMA world with a one-sided thrashing of Carla Esparza to claim UFC gold.
Another defense of her strap would move Jedrzejczyk just one fight away from tying the historic mark set by Ronda Rousey for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC women’s history (six), and Jedrzejczyk has spoken openly about how badly she wants that record. But in Andrade, Jedrzejczyk faces an opponent not only familiar with her skills, but one who has looked like a fighter reborn at her new weight class of 115 pounds.
So will the Polish destroyer add another scalp to her résumé? Or will the woman they call “Pile Driver” spoil the party and show the world the truth of that nickname? We asked some of the fighters in town for UFC 211 for their thoughts — and the vote was nearly unanimous.
Jorge Masvidal: “I’ve gotta go with my girl all day. Joanna, man. I’m a huge fan of her. I’m not too much a fan of women’s fighting, but she’s somebody that I actually enjoy watching fight. I’ll go out of my way to watch her fight anytime, and that was before she joined the team (at ATT). And now that I’ve seen her at the gym, her work ethic, and how mean of a person she is — I’m just in awe of not just her skill level, because everybody knows she’s good, but I don’t think people really know how mean this girl really is. She’s just a mean girl.”
Sergio Pettis: “Joanna, man. I’m just a big fan of Joanna. I think she’s going to go out there and kill it like she does. Her staredown scares me, it’s crazy. Joanna’s amazing. She’s got that ‘it’ factor, even that look, the personality, the striking, all of it. She’s a beast.”
Cortney Casey: “Stylistically, it’s a different match-up than Joanna is used to seeing, just because [Andrade] is so powerful and her wrestling’s good too. But I still have Joanna winning.”
Demian Maia: “Of course Joanna is the favorite, but I think Jessica can win, otherwise she wouldn’t be here. So the UFC trusts she can give a real competition to Joanna, and I think she can.”
Frankie Edgar: “It’s a pick ‘em for me. And when they’re pick ‘ems, you’ve got to go with the champion. So I’m going to go with Joanna.”
Henry Cejudo: “Joanna’s just a beast, man. Joanna.”
Paige VanZant: “I think it’s gonna be a really good fight. I think it’s gonna be a tough fight for Joanna, but I definitely think Joanna is coming out on top.
“I think Joanna’s striking in just on another level. Having seen her fight someone like Claudia (Gadelha), who has a really, really strong ground game, and she was still able to be dominant. I think Joanna’s striking is just on another level and she’s gonna come out with the win.”
Rose Namajunas: “I see Joanna probably winning, unless if Jessica kinda gets her. Like, [Jessica] has to finish her, I feel, or that’s her best chance, is clipping her with some punch and maybe getting [Joanna] hurt. Because Jessica’s ground game is great, and she’s just really tough, but Joanna, I think, is just the better technical and overall complete fighter. And Jessica Andrade, I feel like she’s more of a brawler, which is great too, but I think Joanna wins.”
Jessica Aguilar: “I think Joanna’s going to take it because of her speed and just the volume of punches she throws. I don’t think that Jessica can handle it. We’ll see. Saturday, it’s going to be a good fight. She has a tough chin, but Joanna just keeps getting stronger and stronger. After each round goes by, she gets stronger and stronger, so it’s going to be fun to watch but I’ve got it for Joanna.”
Dustin Poirier: “Man, I see Joanna train everyday. I see her demeanor, her work ethic, her focus. She’s going to be tough to beat for anybody. Even if I didn’t know her, I’d be rooting for her.
“Outside of the gym, off the mat, she’s nice. She smiles, she seems like she has a good time. But as soon as her foot hits the mat, that smile’s gone. It’s business. It’s Joanna Violence.”
MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz contributed to this story.
Original link http://www.mmafighting.com/2017/5/13/15618334/ufc-211-pros-predict-joanna-jedrzejczyk-vs-jessica-andrade