Light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz is determined to establish his name as one of the fiercest fighters in the MMA world by defeating middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 in Nevada on Saturday.
However, Blachowicz has nothing but respect for his Nigerian opponent. The 38-year-old mixed martial artist feels he has to be cautious while executing plans during his first title defence in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
"I'm happy to face Adesanya because he's one of the best fighters in the world. He's very famous. After I beat him, I can become the biggest star in the UFC. I will try my standup skills on him. I know how to use wrestling. I'm a jiu-jitsu black belt, so if I have an opportunity to take him down, I will do that," he told Sportstar.
"I've got good sparring partners, with style and footwork similar to Izzy. I think I'll be ready for everything that he's got for me. I want to put pressure on him, push him to a corner occasionally and hit hard. I've got a couple of plans, and I believe one of those will work. When I visualize the bout in my head, I knock him out in the second round."
- UNDERDOG -
Blachowicz is undeterred by the underdog tag placed on him ahead of the upcoming main event in Vegas.
"I'm always the underdog. If you check all my fights, just once or twice, I wasn't the underdog. So, I'm used to that. If you want to win some money, just bet on me. We can celebrate together afterwards. I don't care about the odds," he said.
Several UFC fans expected Blachowicz to face Jon Jones for the light heavyweight belt after his victory over Corey Anderson in February 2020. But with Jones moving up a division, the Polish star took on Dominick Reyes for the vacant title, which he claimed at UFC 253.
Blachowicz is currently not interested in facing Jones because he wants to dominate his division. But he claimed that he might move to the heavyweight category and cross paths with Jones in future.
"I don't know why Jones doesn't want to fight me. He promised me a title bout after I knocked out Anderson, but he moved to heavyweight. I don't think about Jones anymore. He is now a problem for heavyweight guys. But I believe that after two years, I could also go to heavyweight and catch up with him over there. We'll see how that works out," he added.
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Before Blachowicz took the belt, there had been only two Light Heavyweight champions in UFC since Jones' triumph in 2011, with the other being Daniel Cormier.
The division is stacked right now, as the likes of Glover Teixeira, Thiago Santos, Reyes, Aleksandar Rakic and Jiri Prochazka are vying for title opportunities. Blachowicz is looking forward to taking on all of them.
"There are lots of good guys in my division. I should be ready for everybody. We've got Rakic and Santos at UFC 259. We'll see who wins that fight. Then there's Reyes against Prochazka. For sure, the next in line is Teixeira. First of all, I have to beat Adesanya. After that, I would think about my next step.
"I'd like a rematch against everybody who beat me before. I've never lost a rematch. I had three of those in my career and won all. So, I could fight Santos or Alexander Gustafsson and get a win back. I'm the champion, and I've got many opponents to choose from," he signed off.
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