UFC fighters come from all over the world, and one great example is Jan Blachowicz. The Polish fighter overcame a lot of adversity to become the UFC’s first male champ from Poland. Here’s a look at Blachowicz’s lengthy yet rocky career and how he became the first male Polish champion in the UFC.
Jan Blachowicz before the UFC
Born in Cieszyn, Poland, the young Blachowicz had an interest in martial arts due to action movies, according to Sherdog. He started training in judo at a young age. It didn’t take him long before he started learning other martial arts as well. In 2007, he made his pro MMA debut and lost.
Despite that however, his next few fights generally went his way. By late 2008, he had a record of 8-2, but unfortunately, he hit a roadblock. In 2009, he went to California to train with his friend, Tomasz Drwal. During one of these training sessions, he injured his ACL, and this injury threatened his career.
However, retirement never crossed his mind. He made a full recovery, and in 2010, he returned to the octagon and put a beating on his foes. He continued winning fights in regional organizations until the UFC hired him in 2014. By this time, he had a record of 17-3.
How Jan Blachowicz became the first male Polish UFC champ
Although he started out strong by knocking out his first UFC opponent, his early career was disappointing for his fans. He kept losing against some of the best and worst fighters in the division, as UFC Stats details. But by late 2017, he had rebuilt himself. He got some good wins under his belt, including wins against the likes of Jared Cannonier and Jimi Manuwa.
After getting knocked out by Thiago Santos in 2019 however, his career seemed to have plateaued. However, once again, he proved his doubters wrong and he just kept winning. First he scored a devastating knockout against Luke Rockhold. Then he avenged an earlier loss against Corey Anderson by knocking him out. Finally, he knocked out Dominick Reyes to win the vacant 205-pound light heavyweight belt.
With that win, Blachowicz became the first male Polish UFC champ. He is also the second Polish UFC champ, as Joanna Jędrzejczyk, a fellow Pole, had won the women’s strawweight belt a couple of years ago.
Jan Blachowicz’s fight against Israel Adesanya
Those knockouts have put Blachowicz on the map, but they also put a target on his back. Israel Adesanya, the current champ of the 185-pound middleweight division, will be moving up in weight to challenge Blachowicz for the title. Since Adesanya has an undefeated 20-0 record, while Blachowicz’s record is 27-8, most people think that this will be an easy fight for Adesanya.
Blachowicz is a well-known striker, but he’s not exactly the best at it. Adesanya, meanwhile, has shown that he may very well be the best striker in the UFC. If they fight on their feet, then Adesanya is almost guaranteed to win by simply being faster, smarter, and better than Blachowicz is at striking. That said, Blachowicz does have knockout power, so he will have a puncher’s chance at getting a KO against Adesanya.
MMA isn’t just striking however, and grappling is always a good way of winning fights. Adesanya’s grappling isn’t the best, while, like Sherdog wrote, Blachowicz can grapple very well. For example, Blachowicz has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, while Adesanya does not. If Blachowicz can get the fight onto the ground, then he may very well be able to strangle Adesanya’s ambitions out of him.