Myth of an unconquerable Champion: Joanna Jedrzejczyk

MMA has showcased numerous DOMINANT Champions over its near three-decade television existance. In that time, there has only been a few showcased, that posses that something extraodinary.

Wanderlei Silva; Fedor Emelianenko; Anderson Silva; Ronda Rousey; Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Are all Mixed Martial Artist, I would create such a title for — ‘Myth of an unconquerable Champion’. The brief adjective for these mixed martial artists that I’ve enlisted is widely believed to be — legends, or greats. If you were to reference such adjectives, you wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, we could have several hours of a long conversations as to what perfectly fitting terms, titles or adjectives for these mixed martial artists could be, and we wouldn’t be short on titles or debates in that time. When people are deserving of such various titles, it’s better to go to the higher meaning. Legends or greats fits the higher meaning perfectly when analyzing each enlisted mixed martial artists accomplishments. Accomplishments and titles aren’t the points of what i want to write about today. I can list various Champions; former Champions who don’t fit the title: Myth of an Unconquerable Champion. These are extraodinary Champions/former Champions who offered something ‘special’; or did they really?

Exhibit, Wanderlei Silva: 9 years of brutal finishes, and nauseous violence from Brazil to Japan — Wanderlei Silva would collect the Pride World Middleweight title & Pride 2003 World Grand Prix Middleweight title. Thus making him an icon in Japanese MMA. When threatened, Wanderlei Silva would resort to aggressive intimidation tactics to swallow any of his opponents belief in the ring or backstage. That was until Wanderlei’s Pride Middleweight World Grand Prix 2005, Semi Final bout with Ricardo Arona. Ricardo would become the aggressor at the weigh-ins for said bout; leading to a dismayed Wanderlei Silva. Suprisingly, or unsurprisingly, Wanderlei Silva would go on to the lose his fight with Ricardo Arona via Decision. From that point forward, the unconquerable champion, didn’t look so unconquerable anymore. From that point forward, Wanderlei Silva’s record would read: 6 Victories – 8 Losses. An Icon who was 29-4-1 on that career altering weigh-in day vs. Ricardo Arona.

Exhibit, Fedor Emelianenko: A fighter if coined ‘God of Japanese MMA’, wouldn’t get much rebuttle in return, if any. As someone who was sought after and treated as such following the collapse of Pride in October, 2007. With a firm management team, only accpeting their clients participation on any fight promotion’s card, if c0-promoted with M-1 Gobal. With reported millions of dollars in contracts by the UFC ending up in the shredder bin. ‘The Last Emporer’ was beyond a hot commodity at that point, with even UFC President, Dana White going on record to say — “He has become my obsession. I want him in the UFC; worse than the fans want it!”.

Thankfully Strikeforce MMA had the television rights; the Heavyweight roster; and the co-promotion agreement to bring Fedor to the international/mainstream audience. It would be in front of that mainstream audience; on that co-promoted Strikeforce/M-1 Global mat; And to future UFC Heavyweight Champion: Fabricio Werdum — Fedor Emelianenko would suffer his first decisive career loss. Fedor would eventually tap after getting caught in a triangle choke, after attempting some tenacious ground & pound on Werdum. Fedor was known as a tenacious fighter, who would often compete within the guard of an opponent to deliver some good ground & pound strikes on his opponent. This would be Fedor’s intentions once again. Following dropping Werdum with an uppercut, Fedor would follow the Jiu-Jitsu specialist to the mat.

Werdum gained arm-bar control, with Fedor’s wrist secure, Fedor’s elbow potentially pinched in to place, locked in with a scissors lock — Fedor would receive his first and last warning sign; a warning sign that Fedor would get out of, but instantly would ignore. Fedor would attack again, by attempting to throw Werdum’s legs to one side instead of opting to stand back up and exit the battle with Werdum’s guard. Ego shown, or a confidence that brought him his career success? Either way, Werdum would get his second bite at Fedor’s arm, and transition his high gaurd into a triangle choke, that would eventually get him the submission victory, and give Fedor his first career definitive loss. Fedor would go on to lose his next two bouts under the Strikeforce banner. One would be from a hard-to-watch brutal ground & pound assault from ‘Big Foot’ Silva, and the other would be a devastating KO loss from a wild exchange to Dan Henderson. Fedor did manage to rack some wins together post Strikeforce, but he is far from the unconquerable force we once witnessed.

Exhibit, Anderson Silva: A Mixed Martial Artist i would describe as being ‘a free spirit inside of the cage’. An innovator; a creator in the midst of combat. A happy-go-lucky character who would even dance in celebration, or on the way to combat. But when insulted or threatened, Anderson would be very much like former Chute-Boxe name-sake: Wanderlei Silva, and become an aggressive indimidating figure. From physical weigh-ins, to emasculating opponents by creating a long, drawn-out fight with the intents of embarrassing and punishing his opponents — this soft spoken mixed martial artist commanded the respect of being the BEST. July 6th, 2013 would deliver another threat, in fast rising prospect: Chris Weidman. Leading in to their bout at UFC 162, there was an aura of an upset on the cards.

A very strange/indifferent feeling around an Anderson Silva fight week, considering how unconquerable Silva really had become at that point in time. It is only something one can sense in real time. ‘Will we get the intimidating Anderson Silva this time during fight week, to set the standard of respect for himself, with this being classed a very serious threat to his Middleweight Crown?’, no we wouldn’t! What fans would witness would shock them to their core. At a media day face-off, Anderson would offer to share holding his Middleweight Belt with challenger, Chris Weidman for photo ops. This was a gesture of unbeknown proportions to MMA fans. What had we just witnessed? Was this Anderson passing the torch in his desired way? Had he finally realized he had met the man who would take his crown of being the BEST Middleweight Mixed Martial Artist in the World? Or was this Anderson checking out? The more fans witnessed of Anderson Silva in his prior fights leading up to the Weidman fight, they saw a more wreckless Anderson Silva. An Anderson Silva who looked tired of the media pantomime.

Was Anderson seeing how far he could really clown around in a high level fight and still take a victory, instead of actually intending to ‘clown’ his opponent? What fans would view in the UFC 162 Middleweight Title Fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, would be a Champion with his hands down by his waist, whilst attempting to backslip his way, inside and outside out of the challengers punches thrown. Unfortunately, or fortunately for Anderson Silva — depending on his real intentions for having such a reckless defense — Chris Weidman cut Anderson’s angled back-step off, and landed a clean left-hook that would send the Champion crashing to the mat; followed off by some short ground and pound. Chris would never become a Champion of Anderson Silva’s proportions. Nor would Anderson ever really re-capture the ‘magic’ he once showcased in the Octagon. Not only would Anderson Silva go: 1 Win – 4 Losses – 1 No-Contest in his next six UFC fights, he would never deliver that over-confident Anderson Silva, capable of something special again. The closest display was against Michael Bisping — three years later.

Exhibit, Ronda Rousey: For the most part, Ronda Rousey as an unconquerable force was generated via the UFC and the MMA media. They had most MMA fans believe that Cris Cyborg was no match for Ronda Rousey — which is a bold and advantageous belief to pump out — and that was the factual theme surrounding Ronda Rousey for a couple of years; at the weight of 135lbs of course (referencing to the advantageous part). To her credit, Ronda Rousey did take on, and defeat all number-one contenders/challengers placed in front of her. At first, there was a feeling of awe surrounding Ronda Rousey, mixed with the feeling of Ronda Rousey not being stylistically tested. After dominating Miesha Tate for a second time, and finishing Cat Zingano in quick time, Ronda Rousey really was looking unconquerable.

With one foot out of the MMA door, and the other in movies and the next chapter of her life, Ronda Rousey had to see off two more foes left in her mind so she could step the other foot out of MMA, and in to the next chapter of her life — leaving the previous chapter STAMPED as undefeated; Greatest UFC Bantamweight Champion. With the Holly bout booked as her next title defense, Ronda Rousey hit her scheduled media appearances, as Champion to promote her fight with Holly Holm. Holly would be a rangey; patient; technical challenge on the feet for Ronda Rousey — something that seemed to be on the Champions mind. “She thinks she’s going to kick me in the head, and that she’s going to knock me out. That’s not going to happen”, paraphrasing some of Ronda Rousey’s gloom she revealed in some of her national television interviews. ‘Time traveling’ to the UFC 193 weigh-ins, in Melbourne, Australia.

An erratic, distressed Ronda Rousey would attempt to become physically aggressive towards challenger, Holly Holm. Holm looking unnerved, and the Champion looking wild with emotions — had we just seen a ‘dry-run’ of the fight for the following day? We would certainly see shades of such emotions, as Holm technically and calmly picked apart Ronda Rousey, before finishing her with the head kick KO, that Ronda stated ‘would never land’. Ronda Rousey would fight for the UFC Bantamweight Title once again, against the latest Champion, Amanda Nunes. Amanada Nunes would show no fear or reservation in her confidence, despite bookmakers having a tightly contested fight tipped between Nunes and Holm. That would carry over to the fight, as Nunes would take the TKO Stoppage Victory, in Round 1 at UFC 207.

After writing about and studying all of these believed to be Unconquerable Champions at one point in time, i found a similar theme. That theme was FEAR. Fear can command respect, and when you give too much respect, you give a piece of your belief. Rose Namajunas quietly had her belief. Joanna Jedrzejczyk would resort to her usual intimidation tactics in the lead-up to her fight with ‘Thug’ Rose at UFC 217, just like most listed above would resort to when threatened. Rose has had a suppressed life, and is on a journey of freedom. Joanna would use the wrong method & tactic by trying to suppress Rose’s feelings, that ‘she is nothing’. When Rose would be unnerved — Joanna would up the tempo, instead of changing method. This would only switch Joanna’s focus to potentially doubt her own belief, as to why she can’t place fear & intimidation into Rose, like she has so many others. They say ‘you grow in any walks of life and learn as you go along’. Joanna Jedrzejczyk would go on to lose her title to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217, and much like her idol Ronda Rousey, ‘miss out on setting her goals of record title defences, and mainly — retiring undefeated’.

You set your traps in a fight; Have your assigned/drilled game-plans; Drill your transitions/your combinations; create a sharp long-lasting frame, ready for battle. But when the battle is personal, how does that affect the outcome of the battle inside of the Octagon? Joanna will leave UFC 223 with the answer(s), and learn more about herself.

Looking re-focused on her goals, Joanna looks to become a 2x Womens Strawweight UFC World Champion, which is a great feat, and as a whole, a fantastically achieved career overall. As an Unconquerable Champion well, that’s just a myth; for now anyway.

 

Purchase these SIGNED ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas MMA Gloves: Glove #1; Glove #2

Or, purchase yourself a ‘Nobody Can Stop Me’ Joanna Jedrzejczyk T-Shirt.

Or, If you would like to be a Champion like the ladies set to square off at UFC 223 have been, get yourself one of these replica MMA belts: Strikeforce Replica Belt | WEC Replica Belt | Bellator MMA Replica Belt | UFC Replica Belt

 

 

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