“Fighting for me is a real pleasure. It's a true love, so how can I be nervous? It's like eating ice cream. Are you nervous before eating it?” - Jan Blachowicz
Jan Blachowicz has heard all about the first-time UFC jitters. He just doesn’t buy into that whole phenomenon, at least in his own case.
“Fighting for me is a real pleasure,” he said. “It's a true love, so how can I be nervous? It's like eating ice cream. Are you nervous before eating it?”
Good point, and while talk is talk, Blachowicz lived up to his words in his Octagon debut last October, blasting out Ilir Latifi in less than two minutes to get his UFC career off to an impressive start while extending his current win streak to six. When asked his thoughts on that fight now that it’s over, he laughs.
“It's not over; it's just a beginning. My first thought was ‘I am in the right place.’ You have to believe deeply and dreams become reality. That's my case.”
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Confident and cool under the hot glare of the media spotlight, the 32-year-old light heavyweight presents a figure who looks at being in the UFC as the spot where he’s always belonged, not as something that happened to fall in his lap. It’s this attitude that kept his eye on the prize as he fought his way through the local Polish circuit, compiling win after win, yet not getting the call to the UFC.
“That was very simple for me,” the eight-year pro said of his long journey to the Octagon. “I just focused on my daily stuff. Fighting outside of UFC I collected experience to make sure that when I stepped into the Octagon there would be no mistakes. And I appreciate that time. It gave me a lot.”
Before the Latifi fight, the Cieszyn native left little doubt that he was ready for UFC competition, beating four UFC vets – Rameau Sokoudjou, Mario Miranda, Houston Alexander and Goran Reljic – in a row. And his quick TKO of Latifi immediately put him on the map in his new promotion and also landed him a co-main event slot against Jimi Manuwa in the UFC’s first Polish show this Saturday.
> READ: Fight Night Krakow Predictions
“I felt really excited,” he said of his initial reaction to the news that the UFC was visiting Poland. “First I am in UFC and I had such a great debut against Ilir Latifi and now I can be part of the biggest MMA organization in the world in my home country. It's a real honor for me and I'll do everything to give a great performance. That's my job, that's my life, I'm in UFC and UFC came to Poland. What more do I want?”
A win in front of his family and friends - including his 90-year-old grandfather who is making the trip to Krakow for the fight - would be nice, and while he’s in tough with the hard-hitting Brit, Blachowicz plans on getting that victory.
“He’s a very good fighter with very good stand-up, but I have a plan to defeat him,” he said of Manuwa. “He'll feel and remember the legendary Polish power.”
> WATCH: Blachowicz talks about first UFC apperance in Poland
And if all goes well, Blachowicz says “I can fight anywhere with anyone, no matter what. I want to be the champion in my division and I'll do everything to reach my goal.”
He will add a condition to that goal though, one which states that he will likely need a couple weeks off after the May release of the latest edition of The Witcher video game based on the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapowski. Hey, it can’t be all fighting all the time, right?
“That's the second date I'm waiting for,” Blachowicz laughs. “Sorry for my absence, probably for the next two weeks after the premiere.”