Despite a huge win is his octagon debut, UFC 251’s Jiri Prochazka was not a fan of his own performance.
A wildly entertaining slugfest with Volkan Oezdemir was just that: wild. The former RIZIN light heavyweight champion was rocked in the opening round. In the second, he connected with a head kick, setting up the end for Oezdemir.
Speaking to Cageside Press in a virtual post-fight press scrum, Prochazka (27-3-1) could been seen icing his wounds. And lamenting his performance despite the win.
“It’s how you said, it was wild. So much wild. I’m not happy from that performance,” Prochazka said. After all, he took far too many punches, the Czech fighter admitted. “So much mistakes from my side. So much mistakes, so much punches to my head. I need to be more persistent next time.”
Oezdemir did have him hurt early, Prochazka later added. “I was hurt in the first round, I was a little bit drunk, but I’m ready for these moments. That’s why I’m here now.” Well, he certainly has arrived. The effort was later named one of the Performance of the Night bonus winners by the promotion.
The win was Prochazka’s twelfth straight, a streak that dates back to 2015. Names like King Mo, Fabio Maldonado, Brandon Halsey, and C.B. Dollaway populate that list. That streak led many to see Prochazka as one of the UFC’s biggest free agent pick-ups in years.
And he admitted following Saturday’s win that yes, he was feeling some pressure. Especially after all the support from fans in his native Czech Republic.
“I want to show a nice performance. I think it will be good for them. I’m glad for the win,” he reflected. “Next fight I will enjoy that more. This fight was a little hard, I was a little bit nervous.”
That next fight will likely be against another big-name opponent. You don’t beat the seventh-ranked fighter in the UFC’s light heavyweight division and move down, after all. Prochazka, however, isn’t worried about who that next fight will come against.
“Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter who they give me, who the UFC gives me. I will fight him.” Then, correcting himself, Prochazka added “not fight him, I will show my art.”
Watch the full UFC 251 virtual post-fight press scrum with Jiri Prochazka above.