The top of the UFC light heavyweight division could be seen as a good deal to have for the promotion. Jiri Prochazkathe 205-pound champion, is a new face at the top of a division where the belt has changed hands quite often since Jon Jones has canceled the title held by him or Daniel Cormier dating from 2011.
It was John Blachowicz defeat Dominique Reyes for the vacant title in September 2020 and defend once against the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya before Glover Teixeira and now Prochazka has had her turn at the top.
Meanwhile, the division has seen the emergence of men who have yet to receive a title crack in Magomed Ankalaev and Aleksandar Rakic.
🚨| Jiri Prochazka decided he wanted to face Glover next.
He made the decision clear by offering the rematch to the former champion in a video on his Instagram.
— The MMA Media (@The_MMA_Media) July 11, 2022
The next light heavyweight title fight will likely feature Prochazka against Texeira in an immediate rematch, Ankalaev or Blachowicz. The other two would likely compete in a title eliminator. While any combination of these makes sense, here’s a look at my personal favorite combination from the upcoming matches:
Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira 2
Simply put, this is the fight the champion himself wants. If Prochazka is successful, his first title defense will be against the man he took it from. And why not? The first fight was an instant classic; a barn burner that saw Prochazka do the unthinkable and submit Teixeira via a rear naked choke with 28 seconds left in the fight.
Prochazka wants redemption against Teixeira because in his own words his golden performance was ‘bad’. This is not what most fans believe, as this is a case of Prochazka being his worst critic.
“I want to fight Glover in the next fight,” Prochazka said in a video he posted on July 11. “Not because it’s going to be another big fight, but just for a reason: my performance was bad in the first fight. And I’m going to show you why I’m the champion clearly, decisively. And I think Glover deserve. So here’s the offer. I’ll show you why I’m the champion.
Before the stoppage, it was a close contest where Teixeira was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards heads into the fifth round. A fifth-round Prochazka 10-9 would have resulted in a split draw. The fight was so close.
That’s what the champion wants, and Teixeira certainly wouldn’t pass up the opportunity for an immediate rematch. And if the fight is as good as the first installment, fans are in for a treat once again.
— Jiri BJP Prochazka (@jiri_bjp) July 11, 2022
Magomed Ankalaev vs Jan Blachowicz
Ankalaev is coming off a TKO win over former title challenger Anthony Smith. Smith suffered an apparent leg injury during the contest, and Ankalaev took the opportunity to finish.
Blachowicz, the former light heavyweight champion, returned to the win column when Aleksandar Rakic suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in their main event fight in May. It was a close fight before the injury.
With Rakic on the shelf for the foreseeable future, Ankalaev against Blachowicz for the next title makes sense. Ankalaev is a rising contender who hasn’t lost outside of a literal last-second submission against Paul Craig, while Blachowicz is the reborn veteran fighting at his peak. Whoever wins this contest undoubtedly deserves a shot at the title.
Other fun light heavyweight fights to do
Jamahal Hill against Thiago Santos winner against Dominick Reyes
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Dustin Jacoby
Anthony Smith vs. Paul Craig
Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann