UFC light heavyweight champion Jiří Procházka is giving praise to a man that paved the way.
For many years the UFC light heavyweight division was ruled by Jon Jones. He was a such dominant champion and seemed unstoppable for the majority of his career. He won the title in 2011 and has defended it many times over the last 10 years. There were only a few who gave Jones a hard time in the cage, one of the toughest tests for Jones over his entire title reign was Alexander Gustafsson.
Gustafsson and Jones fought twice, a unanimous decision victory by Jones at UFC 165, and a KO victory for Jones at 232. The first fight was so amazing that it has been entered into the UFC Hall of Fame Fight Wing. Gustafsson’s toughness has inspired a whole new generation of light heavyweights, including the newly crowned champion Jiří Procházka.
Jiří Procházka Talks About Finding Inspiration In Gustafsson’s Toughness And Resiliency
Procházka is fresh off his first UFC title win and already has his first defense on the schedule. He will be taking on Glover Teixeira once again at UFC 282 in December. In the leadup to this bout, Procházka sat down with The All-Star to discuss many things, including his relationship with Gustafsson.
“I trained with Alex many times in Sweden, and he’s a great man. Big Man. Big, big man from father of family and amazing sparring partner,” he said. “He’s not so crazy, he’s really calm and he knows how to work with his power in the camp. So, (I have so much respect) for him and I’m a fan of him. I just wish him to do best.
“After that, I watch that matchup with Ovince Saint Preux and I said to myself, man, he’s going to the cage one more time again and again, after his loss with Krylov and for me like a person, it’s so big, big inspiration because that show he still believe. He still believe (in himself). You know it, you have it. So, I think he’s still very dangerous man….I have to write him.”
Gustafsson will be taking on Ovince Saint Preux on that same night as Procházka’s first title defense, Dec. 10 at UFC 282. He will be looking to get out of a four-fight losing streak and regain momentum in the division and in his career. It will be good to have the support of the champion, Procházka on his side.
This story originally appeared on MMANews.com. Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.