Now, the arduous and difficult part is rebuilding towards another run at the rankings and eventually, a title shot in a strawweight division full of next generation competitors.
But let’s take a look at the big win.
Kowalkiewicz’s decision to move to American Top Team and train with former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk paid off. She looked confident on the ground with veteran Felice Herrig, even getting the rear-naked choke in the second round.
That’s definitely something to build on.
“It’s easy to love this sport when you are champion, when you’re winning your fights. But when you start losing, when you lose, one, two, three fights, and you still love it, it means you are still a real martial artist. I’m a martial artist. I love MMA. I love UFC. I love to be a part of UFC. This is my home. What can I say? This is my home.” – Karolina Kowalkiewicz
While the win won’t leapfrog Kowalkieiwicz into a title shot, you could see the emotions and pressure of winning shine though in the post-fight press conference. Even during the five loss skid, her passion for the sport never waned.
Kowalkiewicz made sure to recognize her former adversary and now training colleague, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
“It was a hard decision, but I knew it would be good for me,” Kowalkiewicz said of Jedrzejczyk. “… Joanna helped me to organize this whole fight camp. J.J., thank you very much. I am here because of you. This winning is teamwork.”
Kowalkiewicz’s long road towards the rankings and a title shot begins now. There are at least four competitors currently in the top 15 that have beaten her previously that she will have to wade through.
The “Polish TNT from ATT” seems more than eager to take up the challenge.