Defending UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk believes more champions of the sport could come from Europe if they follow her lead and begin training in the USA.
Jedrzejczyk became the first women’s European champion when she defeated the USA’s Carla Esparza in March last year.
Next Saturday’s title bout with Polish compatriot Karolina Kowalkiewicz (3-0) at New York’s Madison Square Garden is her first against an opponent from her own continent.
The 22-year-old is one of just three European title holders in the sport at the moment, alongside England middleweight champion Michael Bisping and Irishman Connor McGregor – who is the main drawcard in New York next Saturday when he takes on the USA’s Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight belt.
But Jedrzejczyk, the world’s No.1 ranked women’s pound-for-pound fighter, has spent the past six weeks training alongside American Top Team in Florida, and believes more European champions could dominate the sport if they did likewise.
“I have so many top-level sparring partners in my gym now,” she said.
“The coaches are very good, the facilities are very good.
“My coaches back home, they were good but I feel like I had to change something.
“I hope that there are more coming.”
Jedrzejczyk intends on spending the next nine months training in Florida, but believes it has already caused a number of changes in her own fighting.
“It’s time for a new Joanna and I’m coming,” she said.
“I am very happy and fresh, I am open – I challenge myself every day..
“I learn new stuff and you’re going to see a brand new Joanna in this fight.”
Meanwhile, the defending men’s welterweight champion in the night’s other main undercard fight, Tyron Woodley, has prepared by sparring with Sage Northcutt ahead of the bout with challenger Stephen Thompson.
And Thompson, who is favourite for the fight, believes Norhtcutt’s imitation will have given fellow-American Woodley a real advantage.
“(Northcutt) does some of the flashy stuff I like to do,” Thompson said.
“I’m just prepared knowing that Tyron probably has seen some of the stuff that I’m going to be throwing.”
"New" Jedzrejczyk even better for UFC205 – SBS