Despite targeting a title crowning in his next outing, UFC light heavyweight contender Jiří Procházka is willing to face another top five first if he’s facing a lengthy wait for Glover Teixeira to be ready.
Not many promotional newcomers have broken onto the scene in as impactful and brutal a way as Procházka. The Czech powerhouse arrived on MMA’s biggest stage in 2020 off the back of a successful career across the Pacific. Prior to UFC 251, “Denisa” had built a 26-3-1 record that included 23 knockouts and championship glory in Japan’s Rizin promotion.
Continuing his KO tendency, Procházka sent top-10 light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir to sleep in his debut last July. After securing a bonus in his first appearance, the 29-year-old added a further two in his second. Against former title challenger Dominick Reyes, Procházka recorded one of the knockouts of the year as he rendered “The Devastator” unconscious with a vicious spinning back elbow.
Procházka Looks To Avoid Lengthy Period Of Inactivity
After weighing in as a backup for the UFC 267 main event last month, Procházka is expected to be the first challenger to Teixeira’s reign. The Brazilian defeated Procházka’s fellow European Jan Blachowicz to become the second oldest champion in UFC history.
In an interview with SCMP MMA prior to the Abu Dhabi-held event, Procházka discussed what the next steps would be once his services weren’t required on October 30. The Czech star made it clear the light heavyweight belt is his primary target.
“My plan is for my manager to spoke about, with the UFC, about my next fight. I want to fight when the title will be ready.”
However, Procházka also suggested he’d be willing to contest a title eliminator should the champion require a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Given Teixeira’s shoulder injury and targeted April/May 2022 timeframe, “Denisa” could well find himself in action once more before staking his claim for the 205-pound throne.
“If there will be a long time to wait for the title chance, maybe I will take somebody around, from the top five. But, everybody knows about me, and in the UFC they spoke about me and my title chance. So, I don’t wanna think about it more. I just wanna know, ‘Okay, you have a fight. Just be ready, be prepared.’ I don’t want to speak about that and just talking. I just want to fight some logic(al) fight; what is good for me, and that’s all.”
If Procházka’s third walk to the Octagon is to face another contender, the logical opponent will be Aleksandar Rakić. The Austrian boasts a 6-1 UFC record. His only defeat in the promotion was a controversial decision loss to Oezdemir, a result most fans and pundits disagreed with.
After entering the division’s top three with a win against Thiago Santos earlier this year, “Rocket” has repeatedly called for a number one contender’s clash with Procházka. Rakić even recently claimed he’d been offered the matchup by the UFC, suggesting his fellow European must have turned down the clash. “Denisa” responded by branding the #3-ranked contender a “liar.”
Would you rather see Jiří Procházka fight for the belt next or face Aleksandar Rakić in a title eliminator?