MMA Squared Historical Wednesday: Birth of Joanna Champion
Four years ago at UFC 185, a relatively unknown Polish fighter became the straw weight champ via Sprawl n’ Brawl.
Much like in the history of men’s fighting, after grapplers the sprawl n’ brawlers were the next phase of champion. At UFC 185, Joanna Jędrzejczyk came into her title fight and beat the brakes off of Carla Esparza.
The champ shot for takedowns early and often, but could never hold down the challenger. Esparza ate plenty of knees, elbows and punches for her efforts with each attempt.
Every time they reset, Jędrzejczyk’s footwork pushed Esparza to the fence and then lit her up with right hands.
With each salvo the crowd shifted more to the Polish challenger’s side, raising its volume when Esparza staggered and retreated.
It was a performance in the vein of Chuck Liddell or Mirko Cro Cop: a striker neutralizing takedowns by smashing their hips down into the mat, rendering their opponent despondent.
As the minutes ticked by, a smile crept across Jędrzejczyk’s face as she elbowed the champ in the clinch. A touch of sadism will win you fans and fights.
In the final flurry Jędrzejczyk unleashed a Liddell-esque combination that had the referee running to rescue Esparza who collapsed to the canvas. Joanna Champion had arrived and would defend the title five times.
This is Chris @RiniMMA thanks for your time and thanks Mike Goldberg for massacring Joanna’s last name countless times throughout her title reign.