Jan Blachowicz feels like his knockout of Luke Rockhold at UFC 239 should put him back at the top of the light heavyweight division.
Las Vegas, NV — Heading into UFC 239 this weekend, Jan Blachowicz seemed to be treated like an also-ran by fans and numerous media outlets. The Polish fighter, a former KSW champ, was facing ex-middleweight champ Luke Rockhold. Rockhold had hit the pinnacle of both Strikeforce and the UFC in the past, but it had been over a year since he was last in the octagon.
A loss, at that, back at UFC 221, against Yoel Romero.
At UFC 239, meanwhile, it felt like the Rockhold show. He targeted Anthony Smith. He targeted Jon Jones. He seemed to target anyone but Blachowicz, though he would later tell Cageside Press that the apparent snub was more in response to what the media was asking him. He’d add, however, that “there’s not much to say about Jan Blachowicz.”
Sunday morning, there certainly would be. Blachowicz defied the odds, a common trend at UFC 239. He knocked out Rockhold in the second, after stunning him at the very end of the first round. If you’re surprise, don’t be. Blachowicz warned Luke not to overlook him.
Speaking to reporters after the fight, the Polish light heavyweight revealed that he saw “in his eyes” that Rockhold was hurt. “He goes down, he’s a little bit dizzy.” His corner confirmed that assessment between rounds, but cautioned him to tread lightly. “My coaches said to me ‘he’s hurt, but be careful. Put pressure on him, he’s yours.’ So I just did it.”
That he did. And it all went according to plan. “That was my plan, to hit him with the left hand.”
Blachowicz is coming out of the fight healthy, which should allow him to return before too long. “No, nothing,” he said about any potential injuries. “After the fight, some scratches or something, but nothing serious.”
He also told Cageside Press that he expects that “I come back to the top of the division,” with the win. Which will give him “someone from the top.”
Who might that be? With Alexander Gustafsson retired and Daniel Cormier up at heavyweight, only three names sit ahead of the Polish fighter in the rankings. Those would be Dominick Reyes, Anthony Smith, and Thiago Santos. Time will tell which if any Blachowicz is paired up with.
Competing early in the night also allowed Blachowicz to catch the main event. “Jon Jones [won] the fight, but it was a great fight,” he observed. “Thiago show[ed] his best, it was nice to watch the fight.”