When Jan Blachowicz steps into the cage for his next defense of the UFC light heavyweight title, it will have been almost a year since he won the vacant belt.
In that time, Blachowicz scored a unanimous decision win over middleweight champion Israel Adesanya to secure his first title defense, while longtime light heavyweight king Jon Jones has been out of competition as he navigates a move to heavyweight and the murky waters of negotiating a possible fight with Francis Ngannou.
Blachowicz defeated Dominick Reyes to win the title that Jones vacated when he announced he was changing divisions and as he heads into a fight with Glover Teixeira at UFC 266 on Sept. 4, the Polish star is confident that he is now established as the man to beat at 205 pounds.
“I think people start to respect me—not start, they respect me,” Blachowicz told Submission Radio (transcription via Denis Shkuratov). “They know that I’m the true champion right now. You see what Jon Jones is doing, nobody knows what is in his head right now. Maybe he will not fight anymore because he thinks that he’s not so good. No, he is so good, but we catch [up to] his level and even we are now much better than he was. And I think that he knows that and that’s why he doesn’t want to fight anymore. I think that. But we will see.
“But I don’t care about him. We will see. Maybe in the future he comes back to fight again. But like I said before, people treat me like a true champion. I am a true champion. I am happy about that.”
Previously, Blachowicz has mentioned in several interviews the possibility that Jones will someday return to light heavyweight to reclaim his crown, but he’s also maintained that it doesn’t matter to him whether that fight happens anymore. And with each passing month, Blachowicz’s assertion seems increasingly definitive.
Case in point, Jones has not fought since February 2020 and despite recently bringing in new management to assist in his ongoing negotiations with the UFC, it’s unclear if “Bones” will compete again before the end of this year.
Blachowicz joked that he might approach Jones’ number of title defenses before Jones fights again.
“I think it’s going to be this way, because he said something about how he’s had 10 defenses with the belt, and he said something like, ‘If Jan makes 10 defenses, and then he can start to call me out,’ Blachowicz said. “But I think I’ll make these 10 fights earlier than he makes his debut at heavyweight. So let’s wait, we will see. But I think I’m too old to do 10 fights.”
Blachowicz, 38, estimated that he might have about five fights left in his own career, though he hasn’t settled on a firm number. He also likes the suggestion that a few of his last fights could be at heavyweight, an idea that he’s entertained on more than one occasion.
Right now, he’s more concerned about facing another veteran of the sport who is still competing at an elite level with his next opponent in Teixeira. The Brazilian has fought his way back to a second UFC title shot and Blachowicz expects him to be a challenging opponent.
“Yeah, I’ll enjoy this fight,” Blachowicz said. “I’m excited. He’s a good fighter, lots of experience. He’s older than me (laughs). A really, really good fighter with lots of experience, with amazing jiu-jitsu, with really good wrestling, good boxing style. And also, I think he’s gonna be the best version of himself in this fight, because maybe this is going to be his last chance for the title. Maybe also one of the last fights in his career. I think he’s gonna do everything to beat me and I have to be ready for this. So I am excited.”
“I think that we’re gonna show the young fighters how real men fight,” Blachowicz added.
And if it does turn out that Blachowicz is the man to send off Teixeira, a foe three years his senior?
“It’s a pleasure for me that I would be his last fight in his life with me,” Blachowicz said. “So I do the best fight I can do to give it to him. But sorry Glover, I have to knock you out. It’s not my problem.”
Watch Blachowicz’s full interview with Submission Radio here: