Jan Blachowicz is the current UFC light heavyweight champion. The Polish fighter is 27-8 in his professional MMA career with 17 stoppages.
He takes on Israel Adesanya, the current UFC middleweight champion in a super fight on March 6th, 2021 at UFC 259 in his first title defense.
And although Jan Blachowicz will be the bigger and more experienced fighter, he starts as a +215 underdog, according to the bookkeepers. Adesanya, on the other hand, will be a -255 favorite.
Born and raised in Cieszyn, Poland Jan started training in martial arts, especially Judo, at the age of nine. While many athletes pick up martial arts due to bullying or its ability to grant scholarships in the future, Blachowicz did so because of the influence of action movies.
Blachowicz would keep honing his skills and eventually shift his focus to MMA, making his professional debut in 2007 in a losing effort.
He would go on to sign with Polish MMA promotion KSW and win their 2007 light heavyweight tournament.
Blachowicz then lost to Andre Fyeet before amassing a nine-fight win streak, defeating the likes of Christian M’Pumbu and Wojciech Orlowski. In doing so, he won both the 2008 and 2010 light heavyweight tournaments with the promotion.
However, the Polish fighter lost his match for the light heavyweight title against veteran Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in March 2011. He would avenge his defeat the following November, finally winning the strap. His eventual win and a further five-fight win streak got him a UFC contract in 2014.
How did Jan Blachowicz win the UFC light heavyweight title?
Jan Blachowicz started his journey with the UFC on a winning note defeating Ilir Latifi in 2014 via TKO.
However, he would then suffer four losses in his next five outings. With his career in the balance, he finished Devin Clark via a standing rear-naked choke at UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs Till.
This triumph started a four-fight win streak for Jan Blachowicz which was eventually stopped by Thiago Santos via TKO in 2019 at UFC Fight Night 145.
However, he bounced back again and amassed three consecutive wins against Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza, and Corey Anderson.
When Jon Jones relinquished his light heavyweight strap in early 2020, Jan Blachowicz stepped up to fight Dominick Reyes for the vacant title.
In a spectacular display that earned him the 'Performance of the Night' bonus, he knocked out Reyes in the second round at UFC 253.
His accolades have earned him a lot of respect in his home country, and he is considered one of the best Polish athletes of all time.Published 13 Jan 2021, 22:30 IST