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New UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz suddenly has a lot of options available to him as he seeks to defend his title in his return to action in 2021.
This past weekend, UFC president Dana White announced plans for Blachowicz to make his return to action in a super fight against reigning middleweight king Israel Adesanya. Just after defeating Dominick Reyes to claim the vacant 205-pound title, Blachowicz mentioned Adesanya as a potential opponent but he thought the more likely scenario was facing the winner of the upcoming main event clash between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira.
That fight will headline the upcoming UFC card on Nov. 7 with both fighters seeking to earn a title shot with a victory.
Prior to the Adesanya fight being confirmed, Blachowicz offered his prediction on the upcoming main event where Santos will make his first appearance since losing a split decision to Jon Jones in 2019.
“I think [Thiago Santos is] going to win the fight but we will see,” Blachowicz told MMA Fighting when offering his prediction. “Glover, he’s got a second life. He’s in very good shape. It’s 50-50 for me but I think that Thiago will win this fight.”
Of course, Blachowicz has a vested interest in the matchup because Santos was the last fighter to hand him a defeat when they met in early 2019. Outside of that lone setback, the Polish champion has won eight fights including five finishes with wins over names like Reyes, Corey Anderson, Luke Rockhold, Jimi Manuwa and Jared Cannonier.
In the aftermath of his first meeting with Santos, Blachowicz actually befriended the Brazilian fighter and they ended up training together.
According to Blachowicz, there was never any ill feelings towards Santos even after suffering a loss to him but he certainly hopes to settle the score in the future.
“We are friends but not inside the octagon,” Blachowicz said about Santos. “Inside the octagon, I have a job to do. If he wins against Glover, that would be perfect for me to defend against him, have the rematch against him.
“That would be nice to win a fight against him, defend the belt. Something I would like to do.”
First things first, Blachowicz will have to get through Adesanya, who is undefeated in the UFC but he will be making his first trip up to 205 pounds for this matchup.
Both fighters are obviously on board for the bout with Blachowicz targeting a return to action in the first quarter of 2021.
“March would be perfect for me,” Blachowicz said. “March would be perfect to fight again.”