• Andrew Starc

The story of Jan Blachowicz

Jan Blachowicz is one of the UFC's late bloomers – a man with an against-all-odds story.

In 2020, the Pole was crowned UFC light-heavyweight champion after defeating Dominick Reyes. It was his 35th MMA fight and 13 years after making his professional debut.

Not since Randy Couture became the oldest UFC champ at age 45 have we seen a career resurgence so late. Blachowicz, who became the second oldest champ ever at 37, seems to be ageing like fine wine.

The Pole struggled early in his UFC career, losing four of his first six fights, including against Alexander Gustaffson, Corey Anderson, and Jimi Manuwa.

Had he lost his seventh in 2017, he likely would have been cut. Instead he won, beginning a resurgence that saw him win eight of nine fights on the way to the light-heavyweight title.

So how did he who wields the 'Legendary Polish Power' turn his career around so drastically?

Perhaps he developed new creases to his game, or enhanced his training regimen. Or, maybe it comes down to Jan's very weird pre-fight ritual...

Jan and his lucky suicide rope

In 2017, Jan made a grisly discovery.

While walking his dogs in a forest near Warsaw, he found the body of a man hanging from a tree. When police arrived, one of the officers let him in on some old school superstition.

“When you find a hanged man, you take his rope for luck. That’s what people believed in the old days,” Blachowicz recalls the officer telling him. “I checked the internet, and sure enough, that is exactly what people thought and believed in."

"Since that day, every time before a fight , I come here [to the suicide spot]. I touch the rope for luck. It actually has a 90% success rate since I've started doing this."

Imbued with the magical powers of this suicide rope, Blachowicz went on to gain victories over Jimi Manuwa and Jarod Cannonier. A brief hiccup onto the way to the title saw the Pole lose by TKO to Thiago Santos, however he rebounded strongly in his next fight.

Below: Blachowicz tells the story of finding the suicide victim.

Jan Blachowicz vs Luke Rockhold

On 7 July 2019, Blachowicz catapulted himself into light-heavyweight title contendership with a devastating KO of Luke Rockhold. The American went into the bout as the strong favorite, with many expecting him to make a run for the title.

The fight seemed fairly even, until Blachowicz suddenly unleashed his 'Legendary Polish Power' straight to Rockhold's face, sending him to the canvas. A follow up shot from Jan sealed the deal. The American was left in a dazed mess, his light-heavyweight dreams in tatters. Blachowicz earned the Performance of Night award.

Watch full video of Jan Blachowicz vs Luke Rockhold below:

Jan Blachowicz vs Corey Anderson

On 15 February 2020, Blachowicz avenged his loss to Corey Anderson four years earlier with spectacular first-round KO of the American.

Once again the underdog, Blachowicz faced an in-form Corey Anderson, who was fresh off a spectacular victory over Johnny Walker. The KO earned Jan his second successive Performance of a Night award.

Watch full video of Jan Blachowicz vs Corey Anderson below:

Blachowicz promises to 'fist' Jon Jones

After his victory over Corey Anderson, Blachowicz began calling out light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Sometimes, when English isn't your first language, trash talking doesn't turn out exactly how you mean it:

Jan Blachowicz vs Dominick Reyes

On 27 September 2020, Blachowicz faced number one contender Dominick Reyes for the light-heavyweight title, after its vacation by long-reigning champ Jon Jones.

As the underdog, Blachowicz surprised everyone by dismantling Reyes, who was widely-perceived to have defeated Jon Jones. The fight ended by TKO in the second round, with Jan earning his third successive Performance of the Night award.

Despite Jones leaving the division, Jan began calling out the for champ once again.

Watch full video of Jan Blachowicz vs Dominick Reyes below:

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