When UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk learned on Saturday that bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes had dropped out of her UFC 213 headlining bout due to illness, she immediately got on the phone to UFC president Dana White.
There was no hesitation. There were no stipulations. She simply offered to step up on just a few hours of notice to fight one of the top bantamweight fighters in the world, Valentina Shevchenko.
Jedrzejczyk insisted that it was no joke and that there was nothing personal in her motivation to fight Shevchenko in the Octagon. It certainly didn’t hurt, however, that she had previously lost to Shevchenko three times under Muay Thai rules.
“It was not only for fun or for PR. I was really willing to fight,” Jedrzejczyk said in a backstage scrum at UFC 213. “There is not bad blood between me and Valentina Shevchenko. It was only for the fans to have the rest of the show.”
Though she had the moxie to step up on such short notice, time simply didn’t allow for Jedrzejczyk to do it. The Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t have the time to go through the approval process, primarily due to the medical requirements; one in particular, according to Jedrzejczyk.
“It was very close actually. It was about a pregnancy test. It was not enough time to get the result they need. They needed 72 hours.”
The fight didn’t get booked for UFC 213, but considering the willingness of both women to meet in the Octagon, and the desire of each to fight in the soon to emerge women’s 125-pound flyweight division, it isn’t out of the question that the fight could be made down the road.
For now, however, UFC president Dana White said that he is hoping to rebook Nunes vs. Shevchenko for UFC 215 in September.
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