NEW YORK -- Another invincible, unbeatable champion has fallen in female mixed martial arts.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1) went into UFC 217 on Saturday night as arguably the best female fighter in the world. She was attempting to tie Ronda Rousey's UFC record of six consecutive title defenses by a female against Rose Namajunas at Madison Square Garden.
She did not survive the opening round.
Namajunas (7-3) knocked out Jedrzejczyk with a left hook three minutes into their 115-pound title fight. The official time of the stoppage was 3:03, when referee John McCarthy stepped in as Jedrzejczyk started to tap from strikes on the ground.
It was an incredible moment for Namajunas, 25, who has spoken about an abusive background and went into the fight a significant betting underdog.
"There was so much crap going on in the media and stuff," Namajunas said. "I just want to use my gift in martial arts to make the world a better place. This belt doesn't mean anything. Just be a good person. I know we fight, but this is entertainment. Afterwards, it's nothing."
Jedrzejczyk, of Poland, has dealt with some adversity in the Octagon before but nothing close to this. She won the title in 2015 and had been more or less dominant in five defenses.
Namajunas picked at Jedrzejczyk from the outside at the start and then dropped her with a right hand. Jedrzejczyk worked immediately back to her feet and tried to smile away the knockdown, but Namajunas hurt her again moments later with a clean left hook to the chin.
"[In the] beginning of the fight, I felt I couldn't get the right distance, and it was a big surprise," Jedrzejczyk said. "This is what I said before: Someone [who] never fought in the Octagon or ring doesn't know what it's like to get hit. I just got caught off, and this happened. It was a crazy night for the champions. It's a sport, so I will keep my head up. I will not hide because I lost. I will just come back stronger."
Jedrzejczyk said she plans to go on vacation with her family and then "figure out what I want to do," adding that she will talk to UFC president Dana White about what's next.
Jedrzejczyk did her best to intimidate Namajunas all week, pressing her face into the challenger's every time they squared off. During a final stare down on Friday, Namajunas calmly mouthed a prayer as Jedrzejczyk promised to "take her soul."
The win makes Namajunas the third strawweight champion in UFC history. She fought Carla Esparza in the promotion's inaugural title fight in 2014 but came up short.