While not many have a more inspiring story of redemption and overcoming adversity than current 205-pound king Glover Teixeira, the man who became the victim of the Brazilian’s late-career surge last October certainly has an equally compelling tale.
Prior to UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, Blachowicz held the belt and had transformed from a once-unlikely titleholder to an imposing champion. After winning the vacant strap by knocking out the heavily-favoured Dominick Reyes in 2020, the Polish star defended it by adding the first blemish to the professional record of middleweight king Israel Adesanya last March.
But Blachowicz’s ongoing 17-fight, eight-year stint in the UFC very nearly came to a quick and unfruitful close back in 2017.
Blachowicz: The UFC Would Have Kicked Me Out…
Heading into UFC Gdańsk, which was headlined by Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, Blachowicz boasted a 2-4 record in the UFC and had fallen to defeats in his previous two outings. A third straight loss in his home country that night would have likely led to the end of his road in MMA’s premier promotion.
But despite having had a difficult time inside and outside the cage, including some unsuccessful gym moves and a troubling period living in a new city, Blachowicz felt back to his best in the build-up, something he proved on fight night by submitting Clark in the second round.
“When the UFC made the second event in Poland, in Gdańsk, I fight against Devin Clark. I submit him in a really nice way, a standing (rear-naked choke),” recalled Blachowicz during a sit-down interview with John Gooden for the UFC. “I get the bonus. And I enjoyed the fight. I feel good in the fight. I enjoyed all my camp, my preparations. I just enjoy it again. I enjoyed every moment in the fight.”
Looking back on the result, Blachowicz acknowledged its importance. While a release was likely on the line, the 38-year-old has since gone on to win nine of 11 fights in the UFC, a successful period that has included a stint on the light heavyweight throne.
“I won the fight in a good way in Poland. The whole crowd was happy. I knew, ‘Okay, it’s not over, my adventure in the UFC…’ I was (coming off) off two losses. I was two losses, won one, two losses. If I had lost, I think they would kick me, you know?”
While not as crucial in terms of the context of Blachowicz’s career, the veteran’s next fight is certainly of significant importance.
Having lost the title to Teixeira last October, Blachowicz is looking to rebound in style in tonight’s UFC Vegas 54 main event. To do so, he’ll have to get past fellow European contender Aleksandar Rakić.
While a win would see the Pole immediately re-enter the title conversation, a defeat would leave him a sizeable step away from his goal of regaining the belt, especially with the likes of Magomed Ankalaev and Jamahal Hill quickly rising the ranks.
Can Jan Blachowicz make it back to the light heavyweight throne?