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Former UFC Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk Reflects on Retirement and Comeback

LockerRoom Team
18 March 2024

Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the former UFC strawweight champion, has navigated the tumultuous waters of retirement since announcing her departure from the octagon in 2022. Despite officially hanging up her gloves, the Polish fighter's journey has been marked by a constant tug of war between the desire to compete again and the realities of her physical limitations.

In a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Jedrzejczyk candidly admitted to entertaining thoughts of a comeback, especially in the days leading up to her appearance at UFC 299. However, the 36-year-old acknowledges the resistance from her family, friends, and fans, who urge her to stay retired.

"The first eight months after I retired were the most difficult months in my life probably," Jedrzejczyk revealed. "Because I was thinking every day, I was even calling and texting Dana, Hunter, my manager, Dan Lambert, my family that I was going to come back."

Despite her fervent desire to return to the cage, Jedrzejczyk's body has been unwilling to cooperate fully. Lingering back injuries, a recurring issue throughout her UFC career, resurfaced during her attempted training sessions, forcing her to confront the harsh reality that her fighting days might be behind her.

Transitioning from the rigorous training camps that defined her career to a life without constant physical exertion proved to be a daunting task for Jedrzejczyk. The abrupt shift from intense training to relative inactivity took its toll on both her body and mind.

"It was super difficult. The last 10 years, I was training two to three times a day for the last 20 years, and I went from three to zero for a few months," Jedrzejczyk explained. "It was really difficult for my head, my body in general."

Despite the challenges of retirement, Jedrzejczyk finds solace in her upcoming induction into the UFC Hall of Fame in June. While she may never completely dismiss the idea of returning to competitive martial arts, Jedrzejczyk remains steadfast in her declaration that she will not fight in the UFC again.

"Right now, I will never fight again," Jedrzejczyk affirmed. "Of course, like everything in our lives, I can change my mind. I could wake up tomorrow and say I'm not happy. Honestly, I'm happy with my life. I'm very happy as a woman. I'm human, a businesswoman."

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As Jedrzejczyk embraces her retirement, she leaves the door slightly ajar for the possibility of future endeavors, perhaps in the realm of jiu-jitsu competitions. For now, however, she remains content with the legacy she has built in the world of MMA, reflecting on a career marked by resilience, determination, and unwavering passion for the sport.

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