Jan Blachowicz made a strong case for the UFC light heavyweight title after going 9-5 in the MMA promotion. At UFC 253, he KO'd Dominick Reyes in the second round to win the championship title. Having conquered the division, the next big challenge for Blachowicz was Israel Adesanya, a fighter never defeated before.
Jan Blachowicz proved he was not the UFC light heavyweight champion by accident. Going against 'The Last Stylebender' at UFC 259, Blachowicz used his fight IQ to take Izzy to the ground and stay in control, rising undefeated.
While many fighters in the UFC lightweight division want to snatch the belt from Jan Blachowicz, it is not going to be easy. In this article, we look at five reasons why Jan Blachowicz will rule the UFC light heavyweight division for a long time.
#5 - Jan Blachowiz's biggest threat has moved to the heavyweight division
Jon Jones is a former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, having reigned in the division for almost a decade. In August 2020, Jones vacated his title in a bid to move up a division and conquer heavyweight gold.
Having made his UFC debut in 2008, Jon 'Bones' Jones has stayed practically undefeated for 13 years now. His only loss came in 2009 against Matt Hamil due to disqualification for landing illegal downward elbows.
Jones won the light heavyweight title for the first time when he KO'd Mauricio Rua at UFC 128 in 2011. He remained the champion until 2015 but was stripped of the title that year for violating the UFC's Athlete Code of Conduct policy.
His second title reign began in 2018 after he defeated Alexander Gustafsson via TKO at UFC 232. In 2020, 'Bones' decided to move up to the heavyweight division, vacating his title in the process.
Although Jan Blachowicz never faced Jon Jones inside the octagon, the Polish bruiser would have found the opportunity challenging. Jones is not only a lethal striker, but, unlike Israel Adesanya, he is also an accomplished wrestler.
With the UFC No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter out of the light heavyweight division, Jan can breathe easy for a long time to come.
#4 - No rematch with Israel Adesanya in the foreseeable future
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya fought against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in a bid to become a two-division champ. Despite being considered one of the best strikers in the sport, 'Izzy' could not best the Polish champion and tasted the first defeat of his UFC career.
Losing to Blachowicz via a unanimous decision, Adesanya wasn't too far out in the challenge. At the UFC 259 post-fight conference, the middleweight champion said he would find an answer to the 'Polish Power' after returning to the drawing board. Analyzing his loss, 'Izzy' said:
"He (Jan Blachowicz) knew what would happen if he gave me space, I'd slip away. I even had his chin at one point. I thought, 'Shall I go for guillotine?' But I was like 'nah, slip it, I'll let that one go'. But I'm excited, I'll go back home and work again on myself.. I didn't get rocked, I didn't get slashed.. Everyone said 'Aw the Polish power.. if you get touched, you sleep'.. But, you know, I'm still awake."
Israel Adesanya said that while conquering the light heavyweight division was still on his to-do list, he would return and handle business in the middleweight division first. With a rematch not happening in the foreseeable future, Jan Blachowicz has one fewer threat to his light heavyweight title.
#3 - Jan Blachowicz will avenge his loss against Thiago Santos
Since 2017, nobody has defeated Jan Blachowicz in as dominant a fashion as Thiago Santos did at UFC Fight Night 145. The current No. 4 light heavyweight Thiago Santos TKO'd Blachowicz in 2019. He is the only fighter in the division's top ten to have defeated the Polish.
Despite the looming threat, however, Jan Blachowicz is not worried. In fact, Blachowicz stated that while he considers Thiago Santos his toughest challenge to date, he can still "knock him out." Speaking of avenging his loss against Thiago Santos, an old friend, Jan Blachowicz said:
"..I can knock him (Santos) out. I want to knock him out. But after the fight I can go and drink beer with him. So, for me it’s not a problem."
Since defeating Jan Blachowicz in 2019, Thiago Santos has lost three fights in a row - against Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic.
#2 - Fighters in the top five are no match for Jan Blachowicz
Of the current top five fighters in the UFC light heavyweight division, Jan Blachowicz has fought three. The two that he hasn't battled are the No. 2 ranked Aleksandar Rakic and the No. 5 ranked newcomer Jiri Prochazka.
Czech knockout sensation Jiri Prochazka is set to face Dominick Reyes at UFC Vegas 25 in what will be his only second fight in the MMA promotion. Therefore, it doesn't seem too likely that he will get a title shot soon. However, should Dana White choose to pit the 28-year-old against Blachowicz, Prochazka would not be as well-equipped for a five-round bout as the UFC light heavyweight champion.
On the other hand, Aleksandar Rakic is ready for the title shot. After his win against Thiago Santos at UFC 259, Rakic said:
"I think I deserve the title shot. If you see realistically I am 7-0 in the UFC, this one loss against Volkan wasn’t a loss, and Thiago was the third former title challenger in a row, and I beat all of them. So, who else, you know? Who else?"
While Aleksandar Rakic is confident in his grappling, he is not as experienced as Jan Blachowicz in the field with just one career submission win. Nicknamed 'Rocket', the Austrian has also not fought a single five-round bout in his entire MMA career, which started in 2011.
Blachowicz knows how to fight a championship bout and already has a couple of five-round events under his belt, including one against Israel Adesanya.
#1 - Glover Teixeira won't be a problem for Jan Blacowicz at UFC 266
Glover Teixeira (32-7) has presented a solid case for the UFC light heavyweight title after winning his last five fights, four of which have ended in stoppages.
UFC 266 is 41-year-old Teixeira's last opportunity at winning light heavyweight gold. He matches up well with Jan Blachowicz, too, with a similar stand-up and grappling style.
However, while there is only a three-year age difference between the two fighters, Glover Teixeira seems to have many more miles on the clock. Because of the fights that Teixeira has been in, his chin isn't what it used to be and the Brazilian also gets gassed out quicker in stand-up exchanges.
If you look at Glover Teixeira's last five wins, three have come via submissions. This speaks volumes about the fighter's conditioning. If forced to have a boxing exchange, there's a 50-50 chance that he would go down, which is why he prefers to grapple.
However, Jan Blachowicz is not afraid to exchange punches as we have seen in the fights against Dominick Reyes and Israel Adesanya. On top of that, as the threat of getting punched makes it easier to get taken down, Blachowicz can out-wrestle Teixeira easily. Naturally, therefore, the UFC light heavyweight champion is favorite to defend his title at UFC 266.