While the timing wasn’t right for Waterson to secure a title shot in the summer, she believes she’s landed this bout with Jedrzejczyk at the perfect time.
Once considered the most dominant female champion in the sport, the days of opponents being psyched out before stepping into the cage with the 32-year-old Polish standout have passed. After running off 14 straight victories to begin her career, including her championship victory over Carla Esparza and five consecutive successful title defences, Jedrzejczyk enters this weekend’s headlining bout with just a single victory in her last four trips into the Octagon.
Previously viewed as unbeatable, many now wonder if Jedrzejczyk is capable of recapturing her past form, though Waterson expects nothing but the best from the former titleholder when they meet on Saturday night.
“I’m not looking past Joanna at all,” she said, making it clear that she still knows she’s facing an elite talent this weekend in Tampa. “I’m really looking forward to a sharper, hungry Joanna who is looking to get back into the win column. Her losses aren’t against nobodies — they’re against champions — and that just adds to her resume.
“With that being said, I’m going into this fight with complete confidence because I know that I have what it takes to beat her. I am a complete martial artist. I don’t just love standup — I love the ground, I love wrestling, I love standup, the jiu-jitsu, the cage work and blending it all together. I’m going to take this fight wherever I need to go in order for me to win.”
And if that comes to pass, Waterson believes there is no question what should come next.
“I believe in myself and my skills and I will be victorious,” she said, “and after this fight, there will be no question that I deserve a title shot.”