Joanna Jedrzejczyk: Changing for the better
By Owen Phillips 16/12/16 News
Changing training camps and continents when you are the champion is not common but Joanna Jedrzejczyk wanted to take things to another level.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk moved her training camp for UFC 205 from Olsztyn, Poland to American Top Team (ATT) in Coconut Creek, Florida, USA. Jedrzejczyk is the 115 pound (strawweight) women’s champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and has looked extremely dominant against all her opponents in her title fights. In this situation it is very rare to change too much when you are doing so well.
Jedrzejczyk decided that she wanted to get better. She was not content with what she has achieved so far being the champion. She would like to continue her reign as the queen of the strawweight division for a long time to come.
“I am fresh. I am open. I challenge myself every day. I learn new stuff and you are going to see a new Joanna in this fight,” she said at a conference call for UFC 205 when asked about her new home at ATT.
“I changed the gym because I feel like I must do this. I feel different. I want to defend my title and that’s my goal. I felt like I had to do this move and of course I want to build myself in the U.S more and I’m happy to be a part of (UFC)205.”
The move to ATT certainly wasn’t detrimental to Jedrzejczyk because she put on another supreme performance at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden to retain her strawweight UFC world title. Her opponent, Karolina Kowalkiewicz put on a brave display, managing to win the fourth round but Jedrzejczyk was clearly the better fighter over the full five rounds.
Jedrzejczyk has said she will spend nine months at ATT in 2017 and she will travel back and forth to see family and friends, including her fiancé back in Poland. She shows the dedication that it takes to win the belt and hold it for a long time. If you are winning, it takes a lot of courage to make significant change.
ATT currently has Jedrzejczyk and two other UFC champions, welterweight Tyron Woodley and bantamweight Amanda Nunes. It is one of the biggest MMA gyms in the world and has a great reputation for having the best coaches and training partners. An ‘open door’ policy means athletes can come and go when they like and experience the training at ATT.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of the only current champions to make a major training camp change. There have been a few high-profile training camp changes by UFC fighters in recent times and we examined two of them to see if it coincided with success.
Now a teammate at ATT, Robbie Lawler spent most of his career at Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS) in Bettendorf, Iowa, USA, then trained in Illinois, USA with former MFS teammate and UFC legend Matt Hughes before making the move to ATT. Lawler twice defended the UFC welterweight championship after winning the belt in 2014. All his success came after moving to ATT and this is a good sign for Jedrzejczyk.
Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans moved from Jackson Wink at Alberquerque, New Mexico, USA to the Blackzilians training facility at Boca Raton, Florida, USA, when he was matched up with former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones for another chance to regain the title. Evans and Jones used to be training partners but there were issues at Jackson Wink that forced one of them to move and that was Evans. Ever since that move, Evans has struggled to return to his best form and is looking to drop down to middleweight for his next fight in the UFC.
These two examples show that making a training camp move can achieve varying levels of success. Joanna Jedrzejczyk has the determination and resilience to continue making it a success and her first opportunity to fight under the coaching of ATT at UFC 205 proved to be one of great promise.