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Joanna Jedrzejczyk: 'Everyone thinks I’m not in the UFC anymore,' says Zhang Weili rematch likely next

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Jul 28, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights Tecia Torres (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk says a rematch with Zhang Weili will likely bring an end to her near two-year hiatus from the Octagon.

Fight fans have not seen Jedrzejczyk (16-4) compete in the UFC in a really long time. It's been 22 months and counting to be exact, since the Polish MMA icon fought Zhang in March of 2020, in what will go down as one of the greatest fights in women's cage fighting history.

Jedrzejczyk has made it known over the last year-plus that the COVID-19 pandemic leading to fanless events has been a huge influence on her decision to stay away from the sport. However, with fans back at UFC cards -- be it in packed arenas or limited amounts at the UFC APEX -- for much of the last year, it is surprising that a return fight has yet to be made for the one-time flyweight title contender.

"Joanna Champion's" hiatus from the sport has extended for so long that fans have become so accustomed to her absence that some even believe she is no longer an active member of the UFC roster.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk says Zhang Weili rematch is her next fight

“Everyone thinks I’m not in the UFC anymore," Jedrzejczyk told Polish media outlet Kanał Sportowy [h /t BJPenn.com] in a recent interview. "I am, I just dropped out of the ranking, because I haven’t fought for a dozen or so months, but I’m coming back and fighting number one. It will probably be Weili Zhang.”

Zhang beat Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision in the pairs UFC 248 title fight. It was "Magnum's" first and only successful defense as strawweight champion.

Jedrzejczyk claims she was offered a title fight by Dana White

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Mar 7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Weili Zhang (red gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (blue gloves) during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Despite losses in four of her last six fights, Jedrzejczyk still believes she is deserving of being in the title conversation, and facing the elites of the division. However, with second-ranked strawweight Carla Esparza in line for a title shot against champion Rose Namajunas, she is not an option. Third and fourth-ranked talents Marina Rodriquez and Yan Xioanan are booked to face each other in March. Leaving the Chinese star as the highest-ranked fighter without a fight, following her rematch loss to Namajunas in November at UFC 268.

Zhang also is a sensible option because she is a big name fight that's soon because Jedrzejczyk claims she was offered a title opportunity by UFC president Dana White. But it would require another year of waiting. Something she is unwilling to do despite the desire to compete for gold sooner than later.

“I thought it might be Carla Esparza, but it’s already confirmed that she is next for the championship. She is somewhere [in front of] Rodriguez, who is also fighting with Yan, and then Weili Zhang remains," said Jedrzejczyk. "I don’t see any other fight -- just going for the belt. Dana made me an offer to fight for the championship, but I would have to wait until November [or] December and I don’t want to wait. I want to fight.”

Although she is in a rough patch having only won twice in her last six fights, Jedrzejczyk's losses have come to some of the best female fighters alive in Namajunas (twice), flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, and Zhang.

Is a Jedrzejczyk vs Zhang II fight a matchup you would like to see early in 2022?