Many people are currently unaware of the UFC’s issue with booking Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s next title defense. It showcases shades of Ronda Rousey’s dominance over the bantamweight division back in 2013. She [Rousey] had no worthy opponents, which led to the booking of Rousey vs Holm at UFC 193.
Rousey had no top contenders to challenge for her title at one point. Now, neither does Jedrzejczyk.
If you take a look at the current rankings, Jedrezejczyk has defeated #1 Claudia Gadelha, twice, #2 Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and #3 Carla Esparza.
#4 Rose Namajunas, #6 Tecia Torres, #8 Joanne Calderwood and #10 Paige VanZant are all coming off losses.
#6 Jessica Andrade expressed interest in fighting the champion, however, only after one more fight. She wanted to make sure she made some money to invest in a championship caliber camp when challenging for the strawweight strap, so she will meet Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill in the octagon at UFC Houston. It’s possible that if Andrade wins and has a quick turnaround, she could get the next shot. But if not, this leaves the UFC with two options:
#7 Michelle Waterson or #9 Maryna Moroz
If the UFC were to book Jedrzejczyk vs Moroz, it wouldn’t sell because it wouldn’t make sense. She hasn’t fought any top contenders and the only big win under her belt was at UFC Zagreb, where she made Calderwood tap in her UFC debut.
That leaves the “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson. After her quick win over Paige VanZant at UFC Sacramento, she’s really the only fighter on the roster that makes sense for Jedrzejczyk. It’s obvious this is what the UFC wants, especially after Waterson made her analyst debut on UFC on FOX. Even though she’s only ranked #7 in the strawweight division, she [Waterson] could be a huge threat to the champion. Let’s not forget, Waterson was the antomweight title holder in Invicta FC before coming to the UFC.
If Joanna is willing to wait, we will see Jedrezejczyk vs Andrade. If not, expect the UFC to announce Jedrzejczyk vs Waterson soon. Even though Joanna already turned down the rumors of fighting her at UFC 210; the keyword in her interview was, “I’m not going to fight Michelle Waterson, yet.”