Jan Blachowicz was built to shock Israel Adesanya

Jan Blachowicz has a new greatest friend. The pair were being inseparable at the starting, performing every little thing alongside one another. But now, his pal sits less than the Tv set at his residence.

Hey, what else is the UFC gentle heavyweight winner intended to do with his belt?

“First thirty day period, I wore him everywhere you go,” the jolly Blachowicz told The Put up past 7 days. “I sleep with him, go to acquire showers with him, things like this. But now, he is in a special spot, less than the Tv set, simply because I do not like to view Tv set too a lot. So I view him.”

Clearly, the strong-punching Pole revels in his status as undisputed 205-pound king of the octagon. He even now will get a superior-natured chuckle from getting identified as “Champ,” a moniker he acquired with a next-spherical TKO of Dominick Reyes past Sept. 27 to claim the belt vacated by Jon Jones’ expected shift up to heavyweight.

But if Blachowicz (27-8, seventeen finishes) desires to retain current-champ status, he’ll have to give yet another reigning title holder the first blemish of his MMA profession on Saturday at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. That’s when middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya will shift up in his attempt to develop into the most up-to-date “champ champ” in the main attraction of three title fights at UFC 259 on fork out-for each-see. 

Unlike the unbeaten Adesanya (20-, 15 finishes), Blachowicz suffered his share of L’s on the path to glory. After a operate of accomplishment as gentle heavyweight winner with Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW), one particular of the leading European promotions which is primarily based in his native Poland, he built a major affect with a TKO victory just less than two minutes into his 2014 UFC debut. Then the wheels arrived off. He misplaced four out of 5 — all by selection — in excess of the subsequent two many years. But Blachowicz maintains his self esteem was not shaken.

Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya face off ahead of UFC 259 on March 4, 2021
Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya encounter off in advance of UFC 259 on March four, 2021
Zuffa LLC through Getty Visuals

“I hardly ever hid less than the mattress right after shedding, didn’t cry for two weeks,” Blachowicz suggests. “I just tried to locate the [factors] why I’m shedding the fight, what goes improper, and do not [make] the similar miscalculation once more. 

“Of course, it is terrible. When you lose, you are unhappy and things like this, but then you locate a way. I hardly ever stopped believing in myself. I hardly ever stopped believing in my skills. If I can be the greatest in the environment, I just have to locate a way how to do it.”

After the rough stretch, Blachowicz won eight of nine towards some of the greatest opposition of his profession.

“I uncovered a way,” reported the 37-yr-aged, who experienced tasted defeat as significantly back as his professional debut fourteen many years ago. “A pair of problems in the past, but none of this transpires with out purpose, so I find out from these problems, and proper now, I am the greatest in the environment.”

The similar is reported of 31-yr-aged Adesanya, the completed specialist kickboxer who 2 times correctly defended his middleweight crown right after knocking out Robert Whittaker to claim the undisputed title in Oct 2019. Like Blachowicz, he acquired a championship victory at UFC 253, with the Nigerian-born New Zealander starching challenger Paulo Costa with a next-spherical TKO of his possess in the event’s headliner.

A very long and lanky profession middleweight, Adesanya’s finishes have occur through strikes, but he has gone the length in 5 of his past eight fights, all towards the more durable opposition uncovered in the UFC. Burly Blachowicz, meanwhile, suggests he walks about amongst fights at upwards of 255 lbs . and is famed for his self-professed “legendary Polish power” that yielded (T)KOs in three of his four consecutive wins. As a lot as the 185-pound champ is praised for his hanging offense, he has proved hittable, including whilst in possession of an 8 ½-inch attain benefit — and nine-inch edge in height — towards Kelvin Gastelum in a 5-spherical traditional two many years ago. Both of those the height and attain discrepancies are anticipated to be just two inches in his favor towards the defending winner Saturday.

“Me and my coaches, we uncovered superior sparring associates to simulate [Adesanya’s] design, so I’m going to be completely ready for every little thing,” Blachowicz reported with self esteem. “And I’ll locate a way how to get to his chin and knock him out or acquire him down and submit him.”

Blachowicz enters as a sizable betting underdog, just as he was 7 situations in this 8-one operate. That issues tiny to this champ, who suggests he hardly ever is familiar with the odds until he’s questioned about getting on the improper side of them.

“If you want to acquire some dollars, just put it on me,” Blachowicz advises, “and we’re going to rejoice alongside one another right after the fight.”

It was not very long right after his crowning victory when Blachowicz received word of the UFC’s ideas to pit champ vs. champ. He was even now on the aircraft experience household to Poland — in which he would quickly be greeted over and above his expectations as a conquering hero — when his supervisor acquired a text about the matchup, which he thinks was at first instructed to be fought in December.

“Come on! I have to rejoice [my championship], and we’re going to have a newborn quickly.” Blachowicz remembers saying of the brief turnaround program. “… No, no. It’s not a superior time for me. But if they want to do the fight in March, that would be perfect.”

When past the frustrating welcome at the airport, Blachowicz received an “unbelievable” celebration in his hometown of Cieszyn. He approximated about two,000 individuals arrived out to honor him, many of whom experienced viewed his fight on a major display screen at a close by soccer stadium.

“I would like for every person in the environment to truly feel a little something like this, what I felt in this minute,” Blachowicz reported. “It’s unbelievable.”

As a lot as Blachowicz adores his championship belt, he’s loving his other tiny greatest buddy even additional: a son, born in December to he and fiancee Dorota Jurkowska. The champ and first-time father beams with pride in shared images alongside one another, including one particular which demonstrates the boy with his possess tiny championship belt. And no, he didn’t have the belt built up for him. This one particular arrived straight from the UFC together with diapers and other necessities, unsolicited and surprising. It’s possible that can make him the formal 15-pound environment winner now?

“He is the winner,” Blachowicz jokes with a hearty chuckle. “He was born, and he is a winner. I experienced to perform for this all my everyday living.”