Women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk puts her title on the line for the second time, when she faces Valerie Letourneau at UFC 193 this weekend. Letourneau will enter the fight as a significant underdog, but she’s accustomed to that role.
“I kind of like that position, I gotta say. I feel like I have nothing on my shoulders. I just float. And it’s not the first time it’s happened to me. I was a big underdog in my last fight, too. And even when I fought this boxer, Jessica Rakoczy, it was like ‘she can’t stand with this girl, she has about 40 boxing fights.’ I’m worried about what? The first punch I threw, she shot on me [for a takedown]. So I like that. I just like it,” Letourneau recently told Submission Radio. “It’s even more exciting for me, and it’s just gonna make the win feel even better.”
Jedrzejczyk has said in interviews leading up to their Nov. 15 showdown in Melbourne, Australia (Nov. 14 in the U.S.), that she believes Letourneau is scared. The Canadian couldn’t disagree more.
“The fact that Joanna thinks I’m scared…I just can’t wait to see her face when I walk in the Octagon. Watch any of my fights. I so don’t give a (expletive) when I step in there. I’m just going in there and I don’t care to get hurt. I don’t care. You can try to break my face in pieces,” she said. “I don’t know if she’s doing that for the show or she tries to convince herself, but I hope that’s the way she thinks. I just hope that’s the way she thinks.”
Jedrzejczyk is a confident fighter. Some may even say an overconfident fighter. Letourneau doesn’t know what to make of the champion’s mindset, but warns that if she’s being overlooked that it would be a huge mistake on Jedrzejczyk’s part.
“I don’t know if she’s doing that for the show or she really believes what she’s saying. But I can say, if she underestimates me, it’s gonna be a big mistake because I’m ready to go there. I’m gonna be in her face too,” said Letourneau.
“Some people just do it for the show. I’ve seen a bunch of friends in boxing and they just have a big mouth, and you see them in the gym, they’re not so loud. They’re just very humble people,” she added.
Letourneau is a striker, and Jedrzejczyk has dismantled her opponents with her stand up game. Letourneau believes that she brings more to the table than the champion’s past opponents and believes she can win with strikes.
“I definitely have more striking than every single girl she’s fought before. This is where I want people to see the difference. Listen, she’s never fought with someone like me, who can exchange with her. So these girls were so focused on one way because they only had one way they could win that fight. There was no way they could win [in the] stand up. I really believe I can beat her on her feet, and I can beat her in many other places,” she said.