There’s been no shortage of drama as we approach UFC 223 on Saturday.
Interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is out, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is now in the main event to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title. Ferguson was stripped of the interim title after suffering a knee injury while making the media rounds over the weekend. Holloway takes the fight on six days’ notice.
Conor McGregor will no longer be the lightweight champ once Nurmagomedov and Holloway step in the octagon. UFC president Dana White confirmed during Wednesday’s UFC 223 press conference that McGregor will be stripped of the title. He hasn’t fought in the UFC since November of 2016.
Lost in the shuffle of all of this madness is the rematch for the women’s strawweight title, which is setting up to be an instant classic.
Rose Namajunas shocked the world when she won the title in dominating fashion over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 back in November. There was no shortage of trash talk leading into the fight, especially from Jedrzejczyk. However, “Thug Rose” kept her composure and scored the first round knockout to take the belt.
This time around, there hasn’t been much trash talk. However, the sound of silence doesn’t mean there’s no shortage of confidence coming from both sides. Jedrzejczyk wants her title back after a dominate run with the belt starting in 2015 when she won the title at UFC 185. She had successfully defended the title five times before the knockout from Namajunas.
“I was the champion for a reason,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I’m going to win the belt one more time and become one of the baddest female fighters in the world.”
On the other hand, Namajunas wants to prove that her win at UFC 217 was no fluke.
“All I need is to be myself and that’s all that matters.” Namajunas said.
What’s been the biggest difference for Namajunas now that she is the champion? When asked that question, she made a very unique comparison.
“I’ve got some new muscles,” replied Namajunas. “I have more knowledge but my spirit is the same. I’m like a tree. My leaves might change color but my roots are the same.”
Jedrzejczyk says she has already put the first fight behind her and is ready to make a statement in the rematch.
“I’ve changed as a fighter and you are going to see a second version of Joanna the champion,” Jedrzejczyk said.
To quote Holloway- “We’re going to find out Saturday night.”