Joanna Jedrzejczyk was supposed to fight Valentina Shevchenko for the women’s flyweight title at UFC 231 in Toronto. The fight was signed and announced, but earlier today that all changed. ESPN’s Brett Okomato tweeted that Shevchenko would be taking on Sijara Eubanks as the main event for UFC 230 at MSG.
The news was shocking to many MMA fans, some stating they didn’t even know who she was. While Joe Rogan was recording his podcast when it was announced and said he didn’t even know who Eubanks is.
Why the UFC just didn’t move the Shevchenko vs. Jedrzejczyk fight up to headline 230 is a good question. Now, Jedrzejczyk is left without an opponent. So the real question is, what is next for Jedrzejczyk?
Fight a strawweight
Jedrzejczyk was the former queen of the UFC’s strawweight champion. She defended the belt five times before being losing to Rose Namajunas twice. Jedrzejczyk, however, got back on track with a win over Tecia Torres in July.
Jedrzejczyk proved she is still a top strawweight contender with that victory. With Jessica Andrade getting the next title shot against Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk would need Andrade to win. If Andrade wins, Jedrzejczyk seems destined to get the next title shot.
If Jedrzejczyk decides to stay on the card at UFC 231 a possible name could be rising prospect Tatiana Suarez, who put on a dominating performance over Carla Esparza at UFC 228. The timing could work for Suarez as well, and it is an interesting matchup as whoever wins the fight should get the next title shot.
Fight a flyweight
If Jedrzejczyk is determined to move up to flyweight, she could fight a top contender. If she does that and wins, she would seemingly fight the winner of the UFC 230 fight. Jedrzejczyk has said in the past that she has had problems making weight at 115-pounds, so moving up 10-pounds could give Jedrzejczyk another shot at the title.
Not only would she get another shot at the title, but we have also seen many times when fighters move up a weight class they perform better. If Jedrzejczyk ends up looking better than she did at strawweight, then the 31-year-old could very well be the flyweight queen for a while.
For a possible opponent, it would make sense to see if Nicco Montano is healthy enough to take the fight. If Montano declines the fight, Katlyn Chookagian makes the most sense.
Chookagian is currently ranked third in the women’s flyweight division. Not only is she ranked high, but she has also proven she is a top contender at flyweight with wins over No. 4 ranked Alexis Davis, No. 13 ranked Mara Romero Borella, but does have a loss against No. 6 ranked Liz Carmouche, which could hamper things.
Many fans and women’s flyweight fighters were mad that Jedrzejczyk was getting an immediate title shot. Now, Jedrzejczyk would have to fight a top contender and with a win, she proves she deserves the next shot.
Wait to fight the winner of the flyweight bout
Jedrzejczyk may have already discussed this with the UFC. With her fight seemingly taken away from her, she may have a deal in place that no matter what she gets the first shot at the winner of Shevchenko vs. Eubanks.
The former strawweight queen has proven she is a draw and can put on entertaining fights, and a fight with Shevchenko was one the fans were looking forward to. If in fact, Shevchenko wins, Jedrzejczyk can slide in and fight her in 2019 for the flyweight belt.
It is clear, however, that many are not happy with the UFC 230 main event. What is clear, is that even though Jedrzejczyk’s fight against Shevchenko will not happen at UFC 231, she still has options of what she wants to do, and that includes fighting at strawweight or flyweight.
What do you think is the best option for Jedrzejczyk?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/2/2018.