Nobody can doubt Jan Blachowicz now… taking Israel Adesanya’s unbeaten record proves Polish powerhouse belongs among the elite and caps an inspirational revival story
- Jan Blachowicz upset the odds by handing Israel Adesanya his first defeat
- Polish powerhouse retained light-heavyweight title and turnaround is incredible
- He started in the UFC by losing four of his first six fights but something clicked
- Blachowicz deserves great praise and should no longer be seen as an underdog
For every fighter on a losing run, looking over their shoulder worrying about being cut by the UFC, Jan Blachowicz is the inspiration.
The light-heavyweight champion is proof that at any point, something can click and ignite a career in a way that seemed impossible before.
Almost nobody, including fellow fighters, tipped Blachowicz to beat Israel Adesanya on Saturday night but the fairytale bid for two belts was halted in its tracks.
Jan Blachowicz successfully defended his light heavyweight title against Israel Adesanya
The Pole won 49-46 on two judges’ scorecards and 49-45 on the third at UFC 259 in Las Vegas
Blachowicz has come a long way since losing four of his first six fights in the UFC
The margins on the judges’ scorecards were wide (49-45, 49-45, 49-46) and the light-heavyweight champion was never really in trouble.
How far Blachowicz has come. Back when he first signed for the UFC, he lost four of his first six fights and narrowly avoided the axe.
The defeats came against worthy opponents, Jimi Manuwa, Corey Anderson, Alexander Gustafsson and Patrick Cummins but fighters with records like that don’t tend to last long in the UFC.
Blachowicz’s girlfriend – now fiancee – is also his manager and pleaded with the organisation to give him one more chance.
Dorota Jurkowska previously explained to ESPN: ‘Oh my God, I thought he was going to get fired. Seriously.
The light-heavyweight champion can no longer be seen as the underdog champion
‘I was expecting that email to say he was gone. I was emailing [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard immediately. We had a lot of emails go back and forth that night. That was a very tough night.
‘I pushed them so hard to give Jan one more chance. I told them that Jan is a huge star in Poland, and I knew they wanted to hold an event in Poland. I told them, “he needs to be on this card!” That was my last argument for him not to be fired.’
Jurkowska earned her money that night. Blachowicz kept his job and was matched against Devin Clark, who has only lost once, on the UFC’s card in Gdansk back in 2017.
A second-round rear-naked choke win stopped the rot and gave Blachowicz some much-needed breathing room.
Blachowicz lost to Jimi Manuwa back in 2015 but later went on to get his revenge
Victory over Jared Cannonier, revenge against Manuwa and a submission of Nikita Krylov then followed – the wind was in Blachowicz’ sails until he locked horns with Thiago Santos.
He suffered a KO defeat but that was the last time Blachowicz left the octagon on the wrong end of the result.
It was a blip and the newfound confidence could not be squashed that easily.
Adesanya was his fifth victim since that night in 2019. He delivered a highlight-reel KO of former champion Luke Rockhold, scraped past Jacare Souza and exacted revenge over Anderson and then last year crowned his remarkable rebirth with the light-heavyweight title after a TKO of Dominick Reyes.
The turnaround has been incredible. Blachowicz has spoken before about how he’s done it and admits there’s a superstitious streak at play after a chilling incident in the woods near Warsaw.
Corey Anderson is another rival who got the better of him the first time but not the second
‘I was with my dog walking in the forest and I found a hanged person,’ he told a UFC YouTube vlog series.
He said he called police to deal with what he found, who later asked him if he had taken the rope from the noose home with him for good luck.
‘I checked on the internet and people a long time ago believed in this – so I thought ‘why not try?” he said.
Initially Blachowicz said he would go back to the woods before fights to touch the rope.
More recently though he said he had a brightly-coloured bracelet made from the noose which he takes with him to fights.
Of course, confidence, evolution and experience in the cage against top level opponents don’t hurt either.
At 38, the Polish star offers hope to fighter of all ages, even those entering the twilight of their careers, that a few big wins can create a snowball effect.
Blachowicz, pictured in loss to Pat Cummins, is an inspiration to those on a losing run
It’s time for Blachowicz to stop being seen as an underdog. The defeats on his record matter little now and anyone, weight advantage or not, who can beat Adesanya is a serious force to be reckoned with.
Blachowicz’ favourite expression is ‘Legendary Polish Power’ but there is far more to him than that.
The movement and ability to find a home for that power against world class strikers, none more so than Adesanya, is something he’s not given enough credit for.
He is a calculated, patient killer with a cool head in the heat of battle. The timing of his takedowns were impeccable at UFC 259 and put the result beyond any doubt in the championship rounds.
Blachowicz also relishes the underdog status that has followed him around since those early losses in the UFC.
He loves flying under the radar, no great pressure on his shoulders and upsetting the odds.
Perceived slights against him famously inspired Michael Jordan to perform at his best and it seems Blachowicz taps into similar energy.
Blachowicz timed his takedowns perfectly to seal a comfortable victory on the scorecards
He baffled Dana White after beating Adesanya. The UFC president revealed: ‘When I got up in the octagon, I put the belt on [Blachowicz] tonight and he turned around, looked at me and said, ‘You don’t believe in me,” White told the media during the UFC 259 post-fight press conference. ‘I said, ‘What the f***? What did I do?’
‘I’ve done nothing but say good things about the guy,’ he continued. ‘But yeah, he thinks I don’t believe in him.’
Whether White doubted him or not doesn’t particularly matter. The champion will add fuel to the fire wherever he can.
But Blachowicz won’t have the luxury of being underrated now. He has proved himself to be an elite and legitimate champion even with Jon Jones out of the picture.
Glover Teixeira is likely to be his next title defence and it should hold no fear for him.
The Polish champion is proof that a fighter can transform his or her career at any moment and set off on a path that leads to championship glory.
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