Photos by UFC / Getty Images

Even if you aren’t a fan or follower of mixed martial arts (MMA) or the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Joanna Jędrzejczyk is someone you should know about. 

Affectionately known as ‘JJ’, the Polish fighter started Muay Thai as a teenager and competed in kickboxing and Muay Thai for over 10 years, winning multiple medals and titles. She earned herself the moniker ‘Joanna Violence’, after winning five world titles in multiple championships. Jędrzejczyk’s (yen-zhe-chik) started MMA in 2012, and her UFC debut took place at UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown in July 2014, where she beat Juliana Lima.

Rise and exit of a legend
Admired for her exceptional striking skills, Jędrzejczyk held an impressive undefeated streak in MMA for a long time. After a historic decade, Jędrzejczyk dropped a bombshell at 2022’s UFC 275 that was held right here in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The legendary strawweight champion announced that she would be hanging up the gloves after a knockout loss to Zhang Weili. 

"It was tough. It was an emotional and unexpected moment. I didn't actually plan it, but I know I'd been in this sport for 20 years, and I took lots of damage to my body and mentally. Going into the second war with Zhang Weili, I'd prepared to take some time off if I got another injury. The last thing I told myself before I went into the Octagon was, "OK the hard work is done. Just go in there and show your best, win or lose,” said Jędrzejczyk, sharing her heartfelt sentiments. 

Many fans were crushed that she had to exit the competitive realm, but there is no denying that she has blazed a fiery trail for her predecessors to follow. Jędrzejczyk, with a record of 16-5, dominated the UFC women's strawweight division as the champion from 2015 to 2017. During her reign, she successfully defended her title five times, which remains the division's record for the most title defences. She is fondly recognised as the first UFC champion born in Poland, holds the distinction of participating in the most title fights in strawweight history, and has secured the most victories in title fights within the division.

Ufc Queen’s Legacy Continues 2

High heels one hour, boxing gloves the next
Exiting with no regrets, Jędrzejczyk announced that she had intentions to focus on being a businesswoman. Her remarkable career as a fighter has not only left an indelible mark on MMA but also served as an inspiration for women around the world. Having charted new territory in her field, she paved the way for female athletes, proving that skill, determination and passion know no gender boundaries. 

“’Fighting like a girl’ has a different meaning now than back in the day. It's good to show there is no difference between male and female fighters and in the 21st century, there is no sport or job that women cannot do. It’s an honour and big exposure for us, but it also shows how people like female fighters. Even when people think of MMA as a brutal sport, they can see us wearing a dress and high heels just 24 hours before a fight. A lot of women who are struggling with motivation can see there is no glass ceiling, we show them we can do it as well. We should never stop fighting for our dreams."

Jędrzejczyk's impact extends far beyond the Octagon, as she embodies the essence of a true champion and a symbol of empowerment for women in combat sports.

The spirit of fighting
Jędrzejczyk is grateful for the journey she has had with UFC.  She remembers when she won her belt for the first time. “I had in my head only one thing: they gave me the opportunity to shine, so I need to show UFC that I was worth their investment. Fighting for the UFC was my biggest dream and I made it to the top."

Having learnt valuable lessons, Jędrzejczyk imparts her thoughts on what values she held on to most as an athlete. "I've always said that discipline and hard work can get you to the top. If you're disciplined enough, if you fight for your dreams and work hard, you'll make it. So I think discipline is the most important attribute in martial arts."

UFC fighters echo Jędrzejczyk’s attitude, and there will be an opportunity to witness the skills, grit and determination that professional fighters display during a bout when the UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. The Korean Zombie takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 26 August. The fifth UFC event in Singapore features two of the best featherweights in the world – No. 1-ranked former champion Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway versus No. 8-ranked contender ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung. 

"This is an amazing match-up, I'm so excited for this fight. I'm a big fan of Max Holloway. He inspires me. He's a super nice guy – great father, great husband and such a talented athlete. I’ve met Korean Zombie in Abu Dhabi. He's also a nice guy and a great warrior. It's a big fight, and it was just meant to be,” expressed Jędrzejczyk.

Following the thrilling match, on 27 August, the semi-finals for ROAD TO UFC Season 2 will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. This will be the only tournament where fans can witness the best MMA prospects from across Asia compete for UFC contracts.


Witness the fighting spirit live
Come to the Singapore Indoor Stadium and witness world-class athletes use amazing skills, tenacity and unwavering resolve to deliver a thrilling and unpredictable evening of fights. Tickets for UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. The Korean Zombie are available here. Tickets for ROAD TO UFC Season 2 semifinals are available for purchase here. Purchases for each event are limited to eight (8) tickets per person. A thrilling weekend of action awaits!

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