Israel Adesanya’s head coach Eugene Bareman believes there is more that meets the eye when it comes to UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
Adesanya is set to move up and face Blachowicz early next year in an attempt to become the latest two-weight champion in the UFC.
While some observers prefer for Adesanya to face Robert Whittaker in a rematch or Jon Jones in a potential super fight, Bareman is excited by the challenge of his pupil not only facing Blachowicz but moving up as a whole.
“What excites me, is just the challenge of a great fighter like Jan,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “The challenge of going up a weight division. Just the whole challenge of trying to take on a task like that, another monumental task that I’m sure there are gonna be a lot of people that are gonna stack the chips against us.
“But it’s very motivating when you get a challenge like that. It’s very easy to pick myself up and pick my fighter up and pick my team up, because of the enormity and the challenge. Jan’s an absolute monster, but this is what we do, we slay monsters. That’s what we do for a living. That’s what excites me.”
Bareman: Blachowicz Doesn’t Show You How Good He Is
Part of the reason why fans and critics aren’t excited by a Blachowicz fight is because they are already underestimating the Pole. Blachowicz has already opened as a betting underdog and that’s despite him being the bigger man and having won eight of his last nine outings — with three knockouts in his last four as well.
Bareman will not be underestimating Blachowicz, however, as he believes the 205-pound king doesn’t give a true indication of how good he is until one is actually watching him closely.
“He’s the type guy that when you’re watching him fight from a distance, either from 50 meters away or 100 meters away in a stadium or through a television screen, he doesn’t give you a true indication of how good he is,” Bareman explained. “In fact, it probably paints a really unrealistic picture of how good he is. I believe when you get in there with him, is when you understand just how explosive he is, and how also a little bit awkward he is. Cause that’s the key reason he’s able to give a lot of these guys a lot of trouble, and you don’t truly understand that until you get in there.
“And I think it’s very easy to watch him and underestimate him. But obviously, my team may be new, so to speak, in the UFC for the last four years or whatever, but we’ve been around. My team’s one of the most experienced coaching teams in combat sport, in the world. Before we went to the UFC, you’re talking about 20 years of coaching and cornering fighters before we got into the UFC. We’re not gonna fall for something as amateurish as underestimating someone based on their performance, from watching their performances on a TV screen. It’s something, it’s just not within us to do that.”
As for a potential date for the champion vs. champion fight, Bareman and the rest of the Adesanya team are looking at the earliest possible one in February. Perhaps UFC 258 is a possibility?
You can watch the full interview below: