Jiri Prochazka is nearing his return.
The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion relinquished his title last year after suffering a massive shoulder injury in training. During this time, Prochazka would also withdraw from his title rematch against Glover Teixeira at UFC 282, a sequel we’ll (probably) never get to see as Teixeira retired in his rebooking against Jamahal Hill.
Prochazka’s road to recovery hasn’t been an easy one, but the comeback story is almost complete after more than a year outside of the Octagon.
“Shoulder feeling right now is 100%,” Prochazka said on The MMA Hour. “I feel it like it’s a superpower now because I have to work with the four new muscles, what I have, because last five years there was like, I missed my five muscles and now I’m starting to work with four new muscles and it’s pretty cool. you have to learn how to, how to make it, how to work like in another way, which was for me in last five years. So, it’s very new for me.”
Prochazka Thought Blachowicz Beat Pereira
In Prochazka’s absence, there’s been a lot of shifting gears in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. Newly-crowned champ Jamahal Hill vacated the belt just like Prochazka did, after he tore his Achilles tendon. In the aftermath, Alex Pereira and Jan Blachowicz fought in a title-eliminator bout of sorts at UFC 291.
Pereira defeated ‘Polish Power’ over the distance in a closely-contested fight. However, Prochazka didn’t exactly agree with the split decision call for Pereira… but, as the saying goes: ‘never leave in the hands of the judges’.
“First, I felt Jan [won],” Prochazka revealed. “But, after that I watched that like talk with the coaches and other people. But sometimes that’s the problem about MMA, when you want to win decisively, you have to take it like, you have to take over, to take it with your hands to not to leave it on the points. That’s it.”
‘I’d Like To See Him As An Opponent’
Regardless of who Prochazka thought won, it doesn’t change the fact that Pereira ultimately got his hand raised in his UFC Light Heavyweight debut and will likely be next for the title.
‘Denisa’ is down to fight the Brazilian for the title he left behind last November.
“Yeah, sure,” Prochazka said of Pereira as a potential next opponent. Not sure but it’s not confirmed yet from UFC. My next fight will be the title. So, I think the Alex is the very good chance to show the world a good title fight. I’d like to see him as an opponent in my next fight.”
“I wanna be the best. Right now I’m working on the resting, that’s why I’m, why I’m working on jiu-jitsu, ground and pound, everything to push it to the next level and in a standup to face whoever. Doesn’t matter who. So for me, it doesn’t matter who, who’s the opponent, if it’ll be Jan or Pereira.”
Glover Teixeira 2.0?
In his last fight, Prochazka won the title in a fight-of-the-year affair against Glover Teixeira at UFC 275. Of course, Prochazka was supposed to run it back against Teixeira in 2022 before tragedy struck in the form of an injury.
While Prochazka will probably never take on his now-retired rival again, perhaps he’ll get a similar fight from Teixeira’s pupil, ‘Poatan’.
“Right now after [exchanging] messages with Glover [Texeira], I wanna fight with Pereira right now because it seems like that is a second fight with Glover, which did not happen. Pereira is his like second version, more in a standup. So, let’s do that.”
“I wanna fight this year,” Prochazka said of a matchup with Alex Pereira.