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3 reasons why Jiri Prochazka could be the next big star in the UFC's light heavyweight division

Could Jiri Prochazka be the UFC
Could Jiri Prochazka be the UFC's next big star in the light heavyweight division?
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 29 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

This weekend sees the UFC return to its APEX facility for UFC Vegas 25, and in the main event, top light heavyweight contenders Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka are set to face off.

UFC fans know plenty about Dominick Reyes, who fought for the UFC light heavyweight title in 2020, but less about Jiri Prochazka, who only made his UFC debut last year.

However, there’s every chance that the Czech-based Prochazka could prove to be the UFC’s next big star at 205lbs, and here are three reasons why.


#1 Jiri Prochazka has an insane knockout to fight ratio

Jiri Prochazka is a knockout artist of the highest order.
Jiri Prochazka is a knockout artist of the highest order.

Everyone knows that the one thing that UFC fans love more than anything is brutal knockouts.

Even relatively stoic fighters like Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic have become superstars in the UFC by knocking their opponents out in brutal fashion. But few fighters in the UFC have the kind of knockout ratio that Jiri Prochazka can boast.

The native of the Czech Republic has won a total of 27 fights in his professional MMA career. Incredibly, 24 of them have been won by knockout.

It’s not like Prochazka has been snacking on tomato cans prior to arriving in the UFC, either. Denisa has knockout wins on his record over UFC veterans like CB Dollaway and Fabio Maldonado, former Bellator champion King Mo Lawal and current Bellator champion Vadim Nemkov.

And the Czech native obviously showed off that brutal knockout power in his UFC debut when he took out former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir in violent fashion.

That fight saw Prochazka become the only man to stop Oezdemir with standing strikes in his 10-year long MMA career, proving exactly how dangerous Denisa is.

Basically, whenever Prochazka fights, a knockout is highly likely – making him a must-see attraction in the UFC.


#2 At 28, Jiri Prochazka is one of the young guns in the UFC’s light heavyweight division

The UFC
The UFC's light heavyweight division is populated by older fighters, including current champ Jan Blachowicz.

For years now, the UFC’s light heavyweight division has essentially acted as the promotion’s equivalent of Jurassic Park.

The UFC’s other divisions have seen fighters aged over 30 begin to slide down the rankings as younger athletes supplant them. But at 205lbs, older fighters such as Glover Teixeira, Ovince St. Preux and Thiago Santos have risen to the top.

The UFC’s current light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz, is already 38 years old, and even Dominick Reyes – long seen as the future of the division – is 31.

All of this means that Prochazka, at 28 years old, is one of the handful of young guns in the UFC light heavyweight division who could have a chance of dominating in the next few years.

A professional fighter since 2012, it’s likely that Prochazka may not have even reached his athletic prime at this point, which is a scary thought given his current ability and performances thus far.

Along with fellow 28-year-old Magomed Ankalaev, Prochazka basically represents the light heavyweight division’s best chance of producing a dominant champion in the post-Jon Jones landscape.

This alone means that he’s almost certainly set to become a big star for the UFC in the near future.


#3 Jiri Prochazka seems to be a charismatic fighter

Jiri Prochazka
Jiri Prochazka's new haircut is reminiscent of the villain from cult Jean Claude Van Damme movie Kickboxer.

Obviously, having great fighting ability isn’t the only thing it takes to become a star in the UFC.

Stoic fighters have become fan favorites before, but the UFC’s massive names also have plenty of charisma for the most part.

And unlike a lot of the European fighters on the UFC’s roster, Jiri Prochazka appears to have charisma in bucketloads.

Not only does Prochazka sport a hairstyle that makes him resemble the villainous Tong Po character from the Jean-Claude Van Damme 80’s favorite Kickboxer, but he’s also cool enough to embrace a girl’s name – Denisa – as his moniker.

The fact that Prochazka became somewhat of a star in Japan – a country renowned for embracing charismatic foreign fighters – during his run in the Rizin promotion, should tell you a lot.

Essentially, when compared to soft-spoken killers such as Jan Blachowicz, Glover Teixeira and Magomed Ankalaev, Prochazka is a fountain of charisma.

And this playful side to his personality should mean that he has the potential to take off as a major star in the UFC – perhaps even capturing the European mantle left by the now-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Published 29 Apr 2021
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