Joanna Jedrzejczyk has gone from being relatively unknown and underestimated to an undisputed world champion who is heavily favored in her next title defense. Perhaps because she personally knows what it feels like to be discounted, Joanna Champion isn't overlooking her UFC 193 challenger, Valerie Letourneau.
The Canadian challenger has won her last four fights and is coming off a tough but impressive decision win over young hotshot Maryna Moroz, in August. Jedrzejczyk admitted Thursday at the UFC 193 on-sale press conference in Australia that she was impressed with the 32-year-old's performance.
"She almost knocked [Moroz] out in the first round," she said. "She did well, and she deserves to fight for a title."
The Polish champion also took no small amount of pleasure in seeing Moroz lose. After the 24-year-old Ukrainian's previous fight -- a submission win over Joanne Calderwood in April -- she taunted Jedrzejczyk and called her out. That fight was held in the champion's native Poland, and she happened to be in the audience, at the time.
When Moroz called her out after the win, she did so quite directly, pointing to Joanna in the audience sharing some choice words. The champ would likely still love to get her hands on Moroz, but she enjoyed seeing the upstart humbled a bit, first.
"I'm super happy that [Letourneau] beat Maryna Moroz because [Moroz] had a really big mouth. She called me [out] and wants to fight me, but Valerie did a great job with Maryna Moroz," she said.
Despite her humility, Jedrzejczyk possesses some of the most impressive and inspiring self-belief of anyone in the UFC. So, even though she thinks Letourneau is a deserving challenger, Joanna has no doubt that she'll fall just like the others before her.
"The same is going to happen to her as what happened to Carla [Esparza] and Jessica Penne," she promised.