Last weekend in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Jan Blachowicz got a third consecutive win in a row with his first round knock out of Corey Anderson.
Corey Anderson was at the time of the fight ranked fifth in the Light heavyweight division and Blachowicz’s two former opponents were ranked 14 and unranked in the division respectively. So some would argue that he hasn’t earned that title shot just yet, but here is why it makes sense.
Content of article;
- Fight Record
- Physical threat
Even though technically speaking Luke Rockhold was not ranked at light heavyweight, that knock out was a big win for Blachowicz. Lets also be realistic, the only reason that Rockhold isn’t ranked right now is because Jan knocked him out. Had Rockhold won that fight he would have certainly been put straight into the top ten.
Beating Ronaldo Souza in a close fight is also a bigger win than it appears. Souza is a legend of MMA and Jujitsu, he is always a very dangerous opponent and is a far bigger scalp that his 14 ranking indicates. The fact that Blachowicz was able to avoid the ground and get a win over Souza is quite a testament to his skill.
The only time Blachowisz has tasted defeat recently was at the hands of Thiago Santos, where he got caught rushing in at the end of round three.
But don’t forget it was Santos who managed to take Jon Jones to the judges, actually only losing by a split decision. Santos according to sources actually tore an MCL in both knees during that fight so the fact he was able to take Jones to a split decision really is remarkable.
Given the above there really is no shame in taking a loss to Thiago Santos. Prior to that loss Blachowicz was on a 3-fight win streak. This gives Blachowicz 7 wins out of his last 8 fights, and with the last one being a spectacular knock out it is becoming easier to make a case for that title shot.
After his win Blachowicz is now sitting at rank 4 in the light heavyweight division. So you would be forgiven for thinking that means there are 3 people ahead of him. But look at those names, Dominick Reyes, Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith.
Dominick Reyes while taking the fight to Jones and looking impressive did not win that fight, and I am not a fan of just doing an instant rematch every time there is a close fight, because it tends to hold up the division.
I also think that while Reyes deserves a rematch down the line, I don’t think an instant rematch is the best strategy as I outline in my article here.
Thiago Santo should also rematch Jones at some point, losing by the narrowest of margins. However, that fight was a while ago and even though he is back training and ready to go I do think he should have another fight before stepping back up to Jones.
Anthony Smith fought his heart out against Jones and nobody can question that, however he did come up short.
While their fight went do a decision it wasn’t really close, Smith is a tremendous fighter and is more than capable of working his way back to title contention, but a rematch with Jones before at least another fight against a top 5 opponent is out of the question.
That leaves one man… Big Jan Blachowicz, he really is the best logical option for Jon Jones at this point, barring DC stepping up and deciding he wants to step in with Jones again.
Jan Blachowicz is not just the best logical option at this point he is someone that like Reyes and Santos can actually present a realistic threat to Jon Jones. Jan stands 6”2 and is a natural 205 pounder, he is a very big, strong, physical athlete and that is something that you can sell.
If you market that with the knock out wins over Rockhold and Anderson you have a highlight reel that you can use to promote the fight with Jones. This makes the fight at least interesting. Interesting to Jones and most importantly to the fans who will buy the PPV.
I am not saying that he will beat Jones, Jones is considered the greatest of all time with good reason he really is currently the best the sport has ever seen. However, the narrative is present that on any given day anyone can be knocked out, and every champion will eventually fall.
Couple that with the fact that Jones has at least looked vulnerable as of late and you have the makings of a great story to sell this fight, I am into it.
Another reason it makes sense to make this fight now is that Blachowicz is 36 years old, he is still well in his prime however the clock is ticking. It also works in favour of selling the fight.
Blachowicz has 34 MMA fights to his name, he is by all definitions a veteran. He has a wealth of experience and has been fighting top guys for a long time and is unlikely to be phased by the pressure of the big fight with Jones.
The best thing I think the UFC can do at this point is to have Blachowicz fight Jones for the title. Possibly have Reyes and Santos square off on the same card, that way if anyone misses weight there is someone to step in. The UFC do like to have an insurance policy and having those 4 fighters form the main/ co main event would definitely sell.