UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. (Photo: Getty Images)
Confident, beautiful women are often described as ‘knockouts,’ and the term couldn’t be more fitting for UFC Stawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Though the 28-year-old from Olsztyn, Poland knocks out her opponents while being a total babe, despite never wearing cosmetics in the ring. “There is no chance to have makeup! I go hard at every training,” Jedrzejczyk tells Yahoo Beauty. “You’re taking punches. You sweat a lot. You’re rolling on the ground. I do not put on makeup before practice or a fight.”
The six-time Muay Thai world champion will compete to defend her strawweight (mixed martial arts) title against Valerie “Trouble” Letourneau from Canada at UFC 193 on Saturday, Nov. 15 in Melbourne, Australia — sans foundation and eyeliner. The fight will air on Pay-per-view on Friday, Nov. 14 in the U.S. (due to the time difference). Along with Bantamweight champ Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey, it’s the first time in UFC history that there will be two female events on one card. Read on for more about her upcoming fight, her fitness and beauty routine, and being fearless.
At UFC Fight Night event at SAP Center in San Jose, California. (Photo: Getty Images)
Yahoo Beauty: How do you feel about making history with this upcoming fight?
I was born for it, so I’m very happy. It’s a pretty big deal for me, for Ronda, and for people talking about how it’s not possible to make it, saying there’s no chance. We’re making history, me and Ronda – and the UFC, of course. Ronda is one of the biggest role models – not just in the U.S. We’re doing some pretty good stuff for all the women.
When did you discover mixed marshal arts? What was your fist experience like?
I was always playing all kinds of sports. I used to be a basketball player for a short time. When I was 15, I decided to take Muay Thai classes. I didn’t know what Muay Thai meant, but I had fun. I just wanted to be in shape. I lost 2 kilos [about 4.4 pounds]. I fell in love with combat sports and became a professional fighter.
Were your parents worried or concerned for your safety?
They still are. They are the biggest fans right now, and they were supportive of me. They wanted me to finish studying, get a good job, but I always follow my dreams and goals.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Before it was that I always wanted to get into the UFC. When I got into the UFC, then I wanted to become a UFC world champion.
What is your goal now?
Now I want to be a good person; better and better every day. I want to be the best and be undefeated. I want to be a champion for a while.
What’s one thing or piece of advice you wish you knew when you first got into the sport?
I didn’t have any professional athletes in my family. Back in the day, I would have liked someone who I could follow in my family. I’m the first one in our big family. I’m happy with that.
Do you have any superstitions or pre-match rituals?
I pray before the fight. I’m Catholic and from a Catholic family. That’s all I do. I always do my job before the competition, before the fight. Every day I train so hard and the day of the fight is a glory day for me.
What kind of exercises are a part of your fitness routine?
Every day is different: Boxing, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, and running intervals. When I’m not preparing for a fight, I just like to run outside and enjoy life. I’m a boxing instructor as well. I like to teach people.
What is your guilty pleasure or cheat day food?
There are so many! Before the fight, I’m on a gluten-free diet. I’ve got the best nutritionist in Poland. He’s taking good care of me. But when I’m off-season, I love m&ms. Italian food.
Do you cook?
I love to cook Italian food. I’ll cook for me, my boyfriend, and my family. [I make] pizza, pasta.
Are you a girly girl outside the ring?
I love high heels, but the best clothes are jeans, sneakers, and T-shirts. I’m a sneakerhead — I love kicks.
As a role model to girls and women, what is your message to those who look up to you?
I was one of you girls. I’m still one of you. I just wanted to be in shape and I didn’t expect the sport to become my job and my hobby as well. Just do your thing, follow your dreams and do what you love.