Jedrzejczyk coach: My fighters do better when they move up
ATT coach Mike Brown has trained former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk for years, including some problematic weight cuts. Now Joanna 'Champion' fights Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant flyweight belt, and he says the move up a division has had some dramatic positive effects.
“She was killing herself to make that weight and that’s not the way to do it," said Brown, as transcribed by Mike Bohn for MMAjunkie. "She used to compete at 125 in Muay Thai. If there was a 125, she would have been competing at that weight the whole time in the UFC. But because it was ’15 and ’35, she was small for ’35. She was making ’15, but then as she was maturing, as she was training and lifting weights, she was gaining muscle and getting bigger. So that 115 was getting tougher and tougher to make. It was getting to be such a problem that I think it cost her a fight [vs. Rose Namajunas].”
“Her energy level’s so much better. Before she always had a good attitude, but as the camp wore on, she’s starving herself. Really, really low calories. Like 1,000 calories a day type of diet, waking up doing fasted cardio when you wake up. Doing this every day. Then trying to train on top of that. Sparring and everything, it’s just not good for you. As the camp wore on, her energy levels – camp was becoming a drag and probably her mental focus was off. But with her eating, she’s much better, much sharper and much better.”
“I feel like when a fighter is killing themselves to make the weight, that’s not the way to do it. It’s better to move up. You’re going to have more success, and in my personal experience of what I’ve dealt with, all the fighters who have moved up have been killing it. Kyoji was at 125 and now he’s at 135; he’s 7-0 at 135 with four KOs and one submission. Dustin Poirier moved up to ’55, and I think he’s 6-1 with five KOs and ready for a title shot. Tony Martin, he was 1-3 in his last four, now he’s 3-0 at 170 and got his first knockout in his UFC career. Valerie Letourneau lost four in a row and now she’s up at 125 and [fighting for a title]. She is not undersized for 125.”
“She’s got to be her. She’s got to do what she does best. She’s got to keep a high pace, a lot of volume and then mix it up. She has a lot of new tricks that we don’t want to tip our cards to, but she’s a great fighter. World class. She’s got to put her game on Valentina. Valentina, I believe, is going to try to sit back and counter, and she might try to take Joanna down. This is also a possibility, it’s a new wrinkle to her game and she’s good at doing it. Joanna has a lot of new tricks, too. She’s super hard-working, she’s aggressive all the time and a great athlete. She’s coming a better fighter by the day, by the week, by the month, and I think we’re going to see that.”