Jan Blachowicz became the first-ever Male Polish Champion in the UFC when he defeated the former title challenger Dominick Reyes in the co-main event at UFC 253 by knocking out the ‘Devastator’ in spectacular fashion.
Jan found success in the early round of the match itself by landing a hard left body kick that even led to marks on Reyes’ ribs. Jan noticed the slowing down of Reyes and went on to finish him in the second round by technical knockout. It was an iconic moment in the career of the Polish MMA star but his journey is something equally spectacular.
Jan started his MMA career in 2007 by suffering a unanimous decision loss at FCP 3. After four months, he got himself in the KSW Elimination tournament where he won three fights in one night with two of them coming via TKO as well. Then he suffered a loss again but apparently, his game improve a lot out of these fights, and went on to have a 9 fight winning streak with all coming via finishes.
This impressive run was put to a stop when Jan suffered an ACL tear in his knee which forced his MMA career to stall. After 9 months off, he bounced back in the European MMA scene and became the KSW Light Heavyweight Champion. After this dominance in the European MMA Scene, Jan was signed to the UFC in 2014.
He won his first UFC fight in October 2014 against Ilir Latifi via TKO in the first round but lost his next two fights in the UFC against Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson respectively. The roller-coaster ride continued for him when he won his next fight but lost again in next.
His UFC record stood at 2-4 at this point in time. Jan was about to be cut from the UFC but he saved himself from being released by winning his next 3 fights in an impressive fashion. Things once again became a bit cloudy for the Polish MMA star when in February 2019, Thiago Santos became the first person to finish Jan Blachowicz under 39 seconds of the very first round.
Following his loss to Santos Jan said in an Interview:
“The loss showed me what I have to change, I had to keep my hands higher and that was it. I always believed in myself, after the loss to Thiago we trained together and I learned from him. If we fight again, I have a new plan for him.”
The loss proved to be a motivation and in his next fight, Jan knocked out former UFC Champion Luke Rockhold with a stunning left hook. He won the performance of the night bonus for this victory as well. He then went on to beat Jacare Souza four months later via a Split decision. Up next was Corey Anderson in a main event showdown. Jan managed to knock him out cold and got the attention of Jon Jones, who was sitting in the crowd.
Jon Jones said after the fight that Jan was next in line for his title defense after Dominick Reyes. However, the world couldn’t see this fight since Jones vacated the 205 belt. Jones, vacating the title, however, paved the path for Jan to become the first-ever Male Polish UFC Champion and the rest, as they say, is history.
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