After one of the most entertaining title fights in recent memory, new UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka has already identified his next target.
It’s perhaps unusual for a champion to call out his challenger (rather than vice versa) but the Czech star, who submitted Glover Teixeira late in the fifth round of their title fight in Singapore at the weekend, has called for the biggest light heavyweight fight in the history of European MMA as his first act as champion.
Soon after winning the title in the UFC 275 main event, Prochazka spoke to the media and outlined that former champ Jan Blachowicz is his preferred option for his first title defence, despite suggestions that the winner of the upcoming Anthony Smith and Magomed Ankalaev fight will be the number one contender.
But after running into the Pole backstage, Prochazka was clear in what he wanted.
“It was a little bit friendly and a little bit aggressive after I said [to] him ‘Yes, OK, let’s go, you’re the next,’” he said.“He started to be aggressive because he saw the camera and all these things. He tried to flex a little bit more. Yeah, I said him [makes kissing motion] ‘I love you.’
“Because first he was smiling to me everything, and it was good. And after the fight it was ‘I want to fight! I want to fight!’ So I said I love you. I love you, Jan. Let’s talk in the cage like that.
“Now it’s Jan, I think the next challenger,” he added. “So I would like to fight Jan because I think I have the keys to defeat him. So let’s do that. I think Europe would be the best place between the Polish and Czech republic. It’s too early to talk about the next fight. But I know the next fight will be against Jan, and I will be prepared for that.”