There is no doubt that central and eastern Europe are currently ruling the roost when it comes to the UFC light heavyweight division.
Poland’s Jan Blachowicz is the current champion at 205 pounds following his victory for the vacant belt against Dominick Reyes and subsequent title defence against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Blachowicz has his hands full with his upcoming challenger in gritty Brazilian veteran Glover Teixeira, but he has two fellow Europeans who are nipping at his heels at the top of the light heavyweight mountain – Jiri Prochazka and Aleksandar Rakic.
Prochazka’s performances, in particular, has led to him, his supporters, and some corners of MMA media to clamour for a title shot next. UFC may even agree, as Prochazka claimed that the promotion was lining him up as a backup fighter for Blachowicz’s title bout against Teixeira later that year.
But the Pole disagrees that Prochazka has done enough to warrant a chance at winning his belt and says that he should take on Rakic to determine his next title challenger once Blachowicz gets his hand raised against Teixeira.
“I believe I beat Glover and I defend my belt again, and after that, maybe they’re gonna give me Jiri,” Blachowicz said in an interview with James Lynch. “I think he has to do one more fight against Rakic, and then we’re gonna know who’s the next contender for the belt.”
Czech Republic’s Prochazka, a former Rizin FF light heavyweight champion, has only fought twice since making his UFC debut in 2020 and has caught the eye with two spectacular finishes of former UFC title challengers Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes.
Since joining the UFC roster in 2017, Serbian-Austrian Rakic has put together a six victories and one defeat, posting wins over top names including Jimi Manuwa, Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. That one loss came via a disputed split decision against the aforementioned Oezdemir.