Having lost the championship to Teixeira at UFC 267 last October, Blachowicz entered 2022 with redemption on his mind, starting with a rebound performance over fellow top-five contender Rakić.
After their booking was delayed following an injury for the Polish powerhouse, the pair finally collided in the main event of UFC Vegas 54 earlier this month. While Blachowicz secured the bounce-back win he was after, it didn’t come the way he’d have hoped.
Early in the third round, an advancement from Blachowicz forced “Rocket” to take a step back, a move that turned out to be fight-ending. After the Austrian fell to the ground clutching his knee, referee Mark Smith waved off the contest. It was later confirmed that Rakić suffered a torn ACL.
Following the TKO win, which marked his 10th triumph across his last 12 Octagon appearances, Blachowicz suggested he’s earned the opportunity to face the victor of the upcoming light heavyweight title fight between champion Teixeira and number one contender Jiří Procházka.
While some fans have claimed that the way in which Blachowicz defeated Rakić should put a dent in his hopes to challenge for gold next, the man occupying the throne sees the situation differently.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Teixeira said that given Rakić’s place in the championship conversation, it only makes sense for Blachowicz to now be behind “Denisa” in the queue. The Brazilian also dismissed the idea that the manner of the Pole’s win should affect his chances of competing for the belt.
“That’s not my job to pick. The reason I say (Blachowicz deserves it) is that he’s number two and he fought Rakić, and Rakić was in the line for the title,” noted Teixeira. “That’s the reason I say. I said, ‘If Rakić wins, he’s gonna fight for the title next, no doubt about it.’ He wanted to jump in before Jiří.
“And Jan beat him, whatever (the circumstances). You go over there, my friend, you go over there to fight and whatever happens, happens,” added Teixeira. “And that’s why I think Jan is next, man. It was gonna be Rakić and now it can be Jan… Who else would be next?”
Teixeira’s sentiment is unsurprising given his immediate post-fight reaction. On Twitter, the 42-year-old congratulated the former champ, suggesting they run it back later this year should he successfully defend the belt against the dangerous Procházka in Singapore on June 11.
Do you agree with Glover Teixeira? Has Blachowicz positioned himself for a title shot after his win against Rakić?