UFC 259: Jan Blachowicz post-fight interview
- Jan, congratulations on a big win for you and your career. What's the emotions like right now, after being the underdog yet again and handing this guy is his first loss?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: What can I say? I'm just happy. Pure happiness. I defend my belt. Now I'm prove that I'm true champion. I think, now, I'm gonna have respect from everybody, and in the next fight, I will not gonna be underdog anymore. I think so.
But I don't get anyway. I could be.
- This ended up being a very tactical fight, right? The stand-up game throughout. Obviously, the takedowns were big at the end. But really interesting, the way it unfolded. Did it play out at all like you thought it would?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: No, no. I thought before the fight-- I planned to knock him out in the second round. But he's a great fighter, good fighter, so he don't let me go. But I should start resting a little bit earlier, but he keep distance very well, so I cannot catch him.
He kick really hard. I feel it, my leg right now. And I should put a little bit more pressure on him and use more boxing skills on him. But anyway, I was a little bit better. It was fight, tough fight, but I was a little bit better.
And finally, I find a way how to take him down and control him on the ground and win the fight and defend the belt first time in my life. Amazing feeling.
- I was gonna ask you about the takedowns. Obviously, the fourth and fifth round-- that was key. But you did look for the takedown a little early, but what changed? Did you change your approach? Did he tire a little bit? What happened?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Because he was really tricky. He stand up really nice. I take him down in the second round, I think so, and he stand up really fast.
In the third round, and also in the second round, remember, I catch him in the guillotine, or something like this, and also was tricky moving, and he escaped. So I need to know that I have to wait a little bit longer when he got a little bit tired, and then I will take him down-- a controlled fight on the ground. Just wait for the good moment.
- The later rounds were clear that you won, but the first couple rounds were really, really close. So when you went to the judges' decision, what did you think? Did you and your team think you had won, or were you a little concerned?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: I was sure that I gonna win this fight. Even Glover Teixeira come to the cage and said-- it was better, you know? And after the fight, also, [INAUDIBLE] say that you won three rounds from the fight.
And I feel that I was a little bit better. He throw more kicks, but I throw more punches by boxing, and after that, I controlled the fight on the ground. That's why I won the fight.
- Dana was here earlier, and he said while he was in the cage you turned to him and said, you don't believe in me. Why was that the message to him? Why do you believe he doesn't--
JAN BLACHOWICZ: That was asking. "You don't believe in me?" And he-- "No, I truly believe in you." And that's it. And after that, I thanks for everything what he do for us, for the fighters-- that we can fight, have a job.
So Dana, one more time, thank you for everything.
- Can you compare this to winning the title-- what the feeling is like, defending it versus winning it?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: I don't know. I'll tell you tomorrow. But it tastes different a little bit, because I was the champion. Now I just-- not just, but I defend my belt, so I prove that I'm true champion.
I don't know. I don't know yet. Always, when you won the fight, it's amazing feeling. But right now, because I won against someone like Israel, one of the best in the world-- now he's got 20 and 1, so he gonna remember me to the end of his life. The first one who defeat him in MMA.
It taste much better. Amazing, amazing. But go to Poland. Great feeling. Amazing, amazing. One more time.
- Last thing for me. I know you said you'd be interested in fighting Glover Teixeira next. Dana was here. You said, yeah, that's probably the next fight to make.
It looked like you were limping a little. The legs are sore. But how soon do you want to fight? If that's the fight, how soon do you want to make it happen?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Now. Short break. Minimum half-year break. I want spend some times with my family, because I am a father, two and a half months. My child was born, my son, and I don't spend many time with him because I have to prepare for my fight.
My fiancée take care of it, so thank you, Dorota, for everything. Now I take care of you after when we come back to Poland, and we spent time together and have some fun.
So if you want to wait a little bit longer, he gonna be my next opponent.
- Jan, right here.
Jan, I'm curious. When you started in the UFC 2 and 4, it wasn't always the best. And now, tonight, you just handed the first loss to one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts. When you sit back and you think about it, what do you think about most about your journey to get here?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Motivation, believing in your dreams, and that's it. My coach-- he's the creator of [INAUDIBLE]. My whole team, my friends, my family, everything around me is just perfect. And that's it. Together, we find a way how to be the best.
So thanks, Coach, one more time for everything.
- I wasn't sure how it worked, but did you bring the rope? Is it a bracelet now? There it is.
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Yeah. My fiancée-- she have it, because she was in my corner. So she have it on her hand, so she bring me luck again.
- When you're not fighting, where do you keep that? Is it just sitting next to the bed at home? Is it in your living room?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Yeah, it's in a special place at home. I take it only when something important happen in my life, because I don't use it too much. Only when something happen important, then I will take it, and make me luck.
- I find this surprising. I think a lot of people don't talk about it. 38 years old. Usually, other fighters-- this is where they slow down, and you're at, easily, the best of your career. What do you think has helped you that you're at the top in this point in your career?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Because everybody's different, and I think I just find a way how to be the best. I know my body. I know what I need. I just know what I have to eat, what I have to drink, when I have to push a little bit harder, when to stop.
Because everybody know how to train hard, but you need to know how to train smart. And this knowledge-- I just know how to be in the good shape in this age, not only thanks to me, but also thanks to my whole team.
- My final question. We know you bring the legendary Polish power. You just have a new baby at home. Do you now change legendary Polish diapers?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Yes. I do this a couple of times. When I come back, I will do this a little bit more. So I know how to do this. I'm ready.
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Thank you.
- Hey, Jan. Back here. Congratulations on your win. Yesterday, when I spoke to you, you told me you would let me know afterwards that, now, after sharing the octagon with Israel for 25 minutes, where do you rank his skill set amongst the other guys that you've fought?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: One of the toughest opponents in my life. In this shape I have-- because I have a really good shape, and that was a really tough fight. So yeah, one of the toughest.
- Thank you. Congrats.
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Thank you.
- Yeah, and there was a lot of talk about Israel moving up to light heavyweight. You felt his punches and his kicks. Did he feel like a light heavyweight, or did he feel like a middleweight who was fighting heavier?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: You have to ask him. For sure, he feel light heavyweight on the ground. Maybe, in stand-up, not so much, but when I take him ground, he feel the difference between his category and 205.
- When he was here, he said that if he had to lose to anybody, there's no one better to lose than a man like yourself. Do you appreciate those comments from him?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Yeah. It's great to hear something like this from people like Israel, because he still is one of the best in the world. Great fighter, great person. So it was pleasure for me that I can fight against someone like him. So thank you for the fight, Israel.
- I think it's probably one of your finest career performances to date. Do you think fighting someone as good as him brings the best out in you?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: I just like challenges, and I will be ready for everybody.
- Thank you.
- Jan, did you see the Aljamain Sterling-Petr Yan ending?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Yeah, I saw that.
- What did you make of the illegal knee and Petr losing his title to disqualification?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: That was illegal knee, for sure, yeah. But I think they make rematch, and we will see this fight again. But I would not want to be the champion after a fight like this. For sure, they have to make a rematch.
- And as the champion, I'm sure you paid attention to the other fight on this card in your weight class. What did you make of Aleksandar Rakic's win?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: I watch only Petr Yan, Amanda Nunes, and Rakic against Santos. I don't see any different fights. Only this.
- Jan, back here. You're a former KSW light heavyweight champion, and I'm just curious if you continue to follow the promotion, if you've seen Thomas Narkun, and what you think of his potential in MMA.
JAN BLACHOWICZ: We train together sometimes. He help me. I help him. So, this cooperation is really good for both of us. We are friends. He is good fighter.
And someday, maybe he go to UFC. I don't know what he has planned. So, for sure, he gonna be in the top of the division. I believe in that. But he need to, first, sign the contract.
- Right, right. Do you guys have a little, friendly rivalry of, maybe, who's the best light heavyweight from Poland?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Not a question. I am the best. I am the best in the world, not in the Poland. So, simple answer.
- Fair enough. Congratulations.
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Thank you. That's it? OK. Thank you.
- Can we get a picture?
JAN BLACHOWICZ: Yeah.