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Exclusive: Joanna Jedrzejczyk calls Kayla Harrison the next Ronda Rousey of UFC

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

Is Kayla Harrison the next Ronda Rousey? Earlier in the week, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White made headlines when he stated, "I don’t know if she’s ready." In regards to the PFL defending lightweight champion making a jump to his promotion in the near future. Well, one person who feels the two-time Olympic gold medalist is ready to step into the Octagon is her American Top Team teammate Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The former strawweight champ believes so much in Harrison's talent, that she feels the 30-year-old is the superstar heir apparent to that aformentioned former UFC bantamweight champion.

Is Kayla Harrison the next Ronda Rousey?

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"I haven't seen that but I know Kayla Harrison. She's my teammate and I'm very happy for her. Another victory [at PFL 3]. This girl is working hard. She's an Olympian. She knows what hard work means. She proved that so many times in different disciplines and on different levels. We might have another Ronda Rouse in the UFC, and it's going to be Kayla Harrison," Jedrzejczyk told MixedMartialArts.

"Because of the way she is, [and] how smart she is. she is such an amazing person. I love this girl. She's a big inspiration to all of us. I love to train next to her. We are different weight classes so we don't get a chance to train together that much, but we share the mat together and it's an honor. I'm really looking forward to seeing Kayla Harrison in the UFC and I feel like she's ready. She's going to be this star. She's this star already and she's going to be this star in the UFC."

Kayla Harrison the next Ronda Rousey

Credit: PFL

What makes the Harrison debate all the more interesting, is that the talented Judoka currently competes at women's lightweight. A division that does not exist in the UFC. The industry belief is that when the undefeated star does eventually enter the Octagon, it would be at featherweight. Like she did for a one-off fight in Invicta Fighting Championship in November.

However, there are questions about the 145-pound division's future in the promotion. With current featherweight champion Amanda Nunes claiming she is the only thing delaying the weight class from eventually being shuttered by White. Jedrzejczyk has been a major part of growing the women's side of the industry to UFC fans, and fans of the sport around the world. And she could not hold back her frustrations about the possibility of 145-pound female fighters losing out on an opportunity to work in the UFC.

"I feel like there should be even more female divisions in the UFC. Atomweight and higher. When they opened the 125 [pound] division, so many girls moved up from 115 because they had such big problems with the weight cuts. The same with me, it cost me lots of energy. [It's] so many pounds to lose. And so many girls from the higher divisions lost because they were not strong and heavy enough to compete at 145," Jedrzejczyk says.

"I think there should be more options for female fighters. Because as we all can see, people want to see the female fights and there is not such a big difference between female and male fights. Male and female fighters put on wars and a hell of a performance. We're having much more main events with female fighters, and it's good. It means that people want to see this more."

Find the full exclusive interview as Jedrzejczyk talks Rose Namajunas' victory over Zhang Weili and her return to the Octagon below.

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