Last year, for the first time in UFC history, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter reality series was crowned a UFC champion. Carla Esparza emerged from the group of sixteen women hoping to capture the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight title as the titleholder.
No. 1-ranked contender Joanna Jędrzejczyk will attempt to take Esparza’s belt at UFC 185 in Dallas on March 14. She had the opportunity to appear on TUF but turned it down.
“Last year, I didn’t expect that I would make 115 (pounds), but I did it for the UFC,” said the undefeated Polish fighter during a recent press conference.
Jedrzejczyk made her Octagon debut at UFC on Fox 12 in July, defeating Juliana Lima by unanimous decision. In her second outing, she handed Claudia Gadelha her first career loss and earn a shot at the title.
“You do not have to be on TUF,” she said. “I’m going to be a champion. It’s going to be my third fight in the UFC and I’m going to be the champion. You’re going to see.”
Although only having two prior fights in the Octagon, Jędrzejczyk isn’t short on experience. She won all six of her prior bouts, including knocking out UFC veteran Rosi Sexton. She is also a six-time world champion and four-time European champion in Muay Thai.
UFC 185 features two title fights. Along with Esparza putting her title on the line in the co-main event against Jedrzejczyk, lightweight champion Anthony Pettis faces No. 1 contender Rafael dos Anjos in the fight card’s main event.