Jan Błachowicz, after defeating Aleksandar Rakić, begins an operation called “the battle for the UFC belt”. In an interview with us, the “Cieszyn Prins” talks about plans for the coming weeks. He also comments on the fight between Pudzianowski and Materla.
Getty Images / In the photo: Jan Błachowicz
Jan Błachowicz and Aleksandar Rakić faced the UFC octagon on May 14. The duel, billed as a battle for belt candidate status, ended with the Pole’s victory. In the third round of the match, Rakić suffered a knee injury and was unable to continue the fight. In an interview with us, Błachowicz talked about the game’s progress, his eye injury, plans for the coming weeks and the fight between Pudzianowski and Materla, which all of Poland has been talking about for the past few days.
Artur Mazur, WP SportoweFakty: Did a stone fall from the heart after the verdict?
Jan Błachowicz, Former UFC Champion: Yes of course. I felt such an ordinary human joy and relief. MMA isn’t just my job – it’s a passion, hobby, way of life. If you lose the joy in what you’re doing, it’s bad. I found this spark, I had a lot of fun in the Octagon and won, therefore this joy is double.
I remember our conversation together before the fight. There was a great energy emanating from you.
This was the approach we fought for in the preparation period: enjoying everything that was happening around me. Even these media duties in the difficult period before the competition, while I was losing weight, also pleased me, they did not break the rhythm. We made sure that everything related to my job brought me joy.
SEE VIDEO: Pudzianowski couldn’t stand it. Strong, direct words
But already with the first exchange in the octagon, the stairs started. You have an eye injury. What did you think?
It couldn’t have started any worse. Once my trainer Eugeniusz Mandrysz said: Listen, there is no such thing as a blow that doesn’t knock you out. And that hit from Rakic didn’t deter me, so I figured it wasn’t so bad after all. The only thing that annoyed me was that I knew nothing about my left eye, and about thirty percent of my right eye. The doctor said it almost stopped fighting. It was encouraging that despite this injury, my punches hit their target. I hit, I pushed him on the defensive and it was he who went looking for the ground floor. I thought: I broke you in that stand-up collar, you don’t want it anymore, it’s good, it’s very good.
But in the second round, old demons returned – for example, those from the fight against Alexander Gustafsson. You spent most of your time on your back.
These demons consisted of the fact that in my life I never expected that players like Gustafsson or Rakić would want to take me down. And that was the biggest mistake. I could have foreseen that Rakić would save this area because he wanted to do it in the first lap. There is nothing to cheat, I was lying over this lap and only got up at the end. But I was glad I succeeded, because it was a small point in my favor, a signal that I was breaking it. You couldn’t hear it, but as I lay under him, I told him to move, hit harder, that I couldn’t feel his blows. Because of this, I went into the third round the way I wanted.
Again, the kicks to the calf proved to be the key.
I like to dig like this and I always use this technique. Moreover, Rakić’s build and position make him vulnerable to such influences. After all, he switched positions in the first round. It hurt him. I’ve seen him slow down, his mobility started to decline. I knew one more moment, two more kicks, and he would kneel on his left leg, not his right.
Did it hurt you to be deprived of the joy of this victory? Rakić started himself, but there were a lot of votes that you only won because of an injury.
Of course it hurt. If I were Rakić, I would probably choose a similar story. They may take this joy from themselves, but remember that Rakić’s injury is the result of a struggle he couldn’t bear. My body turned out to be harder despite the eye injury. I was ready to fight, he wasn’t. After all, he did not sustain the injury by cycling in the park. He couldn’t handle the rigors of the fight, MMA, the end of the story.
But this is not the end of the struggle for what it is. Though your rivals are nibbling on you, you’ll fly to Singapore in June to challenge Glover Teixeira winner Jiri Prochazka to the championship fight.
This is what we’re fighting for – we want to fight for the title. Let Anthony Smith look at himself. I look at myself and am not interested in his opinion. I kind of understand, but I’m sorry, what do I care? We will do everything we can to attack the UFC belt this year.
These last days are not just about you. In Poland, topic number 1 is Pudzianowski’s knockout of Materli. Are you shocked after what happened?
I think everyone is shocked. In a fight, anything can happen, and here we had a huge weight difference that made a difference. But in this way?! I don’t think anyone expected that. All I can say to “Pudzian” is this: wow, megarobot, bravo Mariusz!
After the fight, the fans split into two camps: they push Mariusz towards Mamed and money fights or to the belt. Can “Pudzian” Phil beat the Fries?
This is a sport. When the octagonal door closes, all those analyses, predictions, bets and odds go to the trash. Two guests and a judge remain in the cage. Then there is the moment of truth and the verification of who did the homework best. And we know very well that “Pudzian” has only sixes in the “homework” column. After all, for this fight everyone ticked him off, I also bet on Materla, but I admitted the thought that anything was possible. And look what happened – Mariusz kept everyone’s mouth shut. It can be similar when fighting the Frisian.
Would you like to see Mariusz in the fight against Khalidov?
If there is such a fight, I will look into it. If not, I won’t regret it.
Artur Mazur, WP SportoweFakty
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Mariusz Pudzianowski KSW Poland MMA Jan Błachowicz UFC Martial Arts Aleksandar Rakić