Joanna Jedrzejczyk is quickly becoming one of the quirkiest, most likable champions in the UFC. Having taken the title from Carla Esparza in dominant fashion at UFC 185, “Joanna Champion”, known for her love of sneakers and a quick wit, makes a quick return to action to face Jessica Penne at UFC Fight Night 69.

Why the love for the UFC’s first Polish champ? Her sense of humor — leading into the bout this weekend she posted a photo of herself eating some penne. Then there’s her intensity in the octagon. Frankly, what’s not to like?

Jedrzejczyk has a chance at becoming a long-reigning champ at strawweight. Here are a few keys to ensure that her first title defense is the successful start to a long reign.

Bring Back That Stellar Takedown Defense

What surprised most of us about Jedrzejczyk’s bout against Esparza was how good her takedown defense was. No one saw it coming, though it should be noted that most of Jedrzejczyk’s fights prior to that either flew under the radar in Poland, or took place against fighters better known for their striking.

Boy, did she have her A-game against Esparza, however. Generally considered the best wrestler in the strawweight division, it’s hard to see what Penne brings in that department that Esparza didn’t — so Jedrzejczyk simply needs to bring that A-game again. That will keep her away from Penne’s submission attempts (she does have seven submission victories to her name).

Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit Often

Jedrzejczyk’s striking is on another level. The going story is that there was no one left in Poland who wanted to fight her, so she moved global. And what a move it has been: three fights into her UFC career, she’s the strawweight champion. UFC Fight Night 69 will actually take place prior to her having spent a full year in the promotion, and will mark just her fourth fight for the big show. Yet she may be the best striker in the division, even when matched up against fighters with years of experience between Invicta and the UFC.

That’s impressive. And she needs to impress again, hitting hard, fast, and often Saturday.

Keep The Pace High

Stamina and pace will be key here. Jedrzejczyk will need to be able to keep a high pace, and maintain it, to be successful against Penne.

She absolutely has all the tools for victory at UFC Fight Night 69 — she just needs to put on the sort of show she had against Esparza, where she shocked pretty much all of us. Only this time, it will be much less of a shock should she win.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.