Joanna Jedrzejczyk was just coming off what she, and many others, considered to be the best performance of her stellar career at UFC 211. Through five rounds of superlative striking and movement, she dominated her former training partner Jessica Andrade, and outstruck her by a ridiculous amount — Joanna’s 225 significant strikes landed was a new UFC title fight record.
And before we get to the crux of this article, there are more records to be shared: Joanna beat Ronda Rousey’s record for the most fights in female UFC history, and her eight-fight winning streak is the longest in UFC strawweight history. If she defends her title once more, she’ll break Rousey’s women’s title defense record.
Joanna had a lot to be happy about, so why did Ariel Helwani’s question about her coach, Kami Barzini, leaving American Top Team after this fight send Joanna Champion off the stage? Maybe it’s because she knows his value. Maybe it’s because she knows that she’s at her best when he’s in her corner.
The fighter/coach relationship is an intense one, and Joanna is someone who clearly wears her heart on her sleeve. We’ve seen her mean mug, we’ve seen her curse, we’ve seen her destroy her opponents, but we’ve never seen Joanna break down like this. As heart-wrenching as it is, it only adds to her mythos and her greatness as a fighter.