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November 01, 2017 2 min read
UFC has a problem that was unimaginable two years ago: It's lacking mainstream stars. Ronda Rousey has been beaten badly in her past two fights, and, even though she hasn't yet retired, UFC president Dana White doesn't expect her back. Conor McGregor, who's undeniably the promotion's biggest draw, hasn't fought an MMA match in 2017; he's proven time and time again that he'll follow the money. Jon Jones fucked up, probably for the last time.
So who does UFC have left? Current Middleweight champion Michael Bisping is somehow an underdog this weekend to George St-Pierre, a man who hasn't fought in four years. Stipe Miocic shares the Heavyweight record for two consecutive title defenses, which says more about the constant shakeup in that division than anything else. Tyron Woodley's great but no one outside of MMA circles knows his name.
The Woodley Problem is really the heart of UFC's issues. It's full of up-and-comers and just-not-quiters. Fighters who have been very good but not transcendently good. It's full of Lawlers and Edgars and Fergusons and Aldos and Holms. None of these people have mainstream appeal unless they're attached to someone like McGregor or Rousey. None of these people sell video games.
EA Sports UFC 3 will be officially revealed on November 3. Put the most dominant fighter in UFC on the cover. Put Joanna Jedrzejczyk on the cover.
Jedrzejczyk is ridiculous. She's gunning for her sixth straight Strawweight title defense on Saturday and she's going to get it. Vegas has her betting odds at -600 right now, by far the biggest favorite of the night. You'd have to bet $600 on her to win $100. That's a lot of money down to win not a lot of money. That's how goddamn sure everyone is that she's going to win.
Jedrzejczyk is probably the most talented striker in the UFC. Over her past six fights, she's landed three times as many strikes as her opponents have. Even though her last four matches have gone to decisions, they weren't particularly close decisions. She's not knocking people out, but she's absolutely outclasssing them. This profile on Deadspin nicely details exactly what makes her so uniquely proficient and dangerous.
As that Deadspin headline reads, it's not a stretch to call Jedrzejczyk the greatest female fighter ever. Rousey and Cris Cyborg are the only other contenders. A case could be made for all three, but Jedrzejczyk has the other two beat in terms of technical skill.
It's time people stop overlooking Jedrzejczyk. It's time she gets the credit she deserves. Put Joanna Jedrzejczyk on the cover of EA Sports UFC 3.
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