Exploding onto the UFC scene with two superb finishes in his first two fights under the promotion, UFC light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka finds himself with a golden opportunity. As he prepares for his third fight in the UFC, Prochazka is also now preparing to challenge champion Glover Teixeira for the title at UFC 274, something he said he was surprised by.
The AllStar’s John Hyon Ko spoke with Jiri Prochazka about the title fight booking, as well as how he views the matchup between himself and Glover Teixeira.
A Surprise Booking
Late last month, it was reported that Prochazka would be challenging Teixeira for the title, and he expressed joy in knowing that the goal he initially set upon entering the UFC, has finally come to fruition.
“I feel great and I’m happy for that, because that was my first word, what I said when I stepped in the UFC that I want to go for the UFC title directly and I’m happy for that because I keep that work.”
Getting to the title fight is only part of Prochazka’s goal, with an obvious end goal of becoming UFC light heavyweight champion, but competing against Teixeira is something he was not expecting.
“Absolutely not, I expect I would fight somebody who was on the top in this time [when he entered] and Glover was under me and that was unexpected. I’m glad for that, It shows that you can take that.”
At UFC 267 in October of 2021, Glover Teixeira shocked many, as he took the title from former champion Jan Blachowicz, just days after turning 42-years old. While it was an unforgettable performance for the newly-crowned champion, Prochazka believes Teixeira used his best energy to capture the gold.
“I seen him, he realized he didn’t have much time to take the title and he did that this time [at UFC 267] he showed the best energy in his career and with his skills, he won the title. But, my energy, my focus, and my skills, I just want to say I’m still learning and I’m still pushing my style and all the skills to the next level. In my levels, there is so much space to make upgrades in my style, so I think in the fight I will be on another level than him. I just want to achieve that.”
No Trash Talk
Having confidence is one thing for any fighter, but having self-understanding can open up plenty of things for fighters as well. As Prochazka looks ahead to the title fight, he doesn’t see his words as trash talk, but simply, the reality of where he is as a fighter.
“I don’t trash talk or like a big mouth, this is real, this is what I feel when I’m in the gym training. That’s my feeling from when I see Glover in the best performance in the fight and I know, this will be my game.”