Welcome to The Weekly Takedown, Illustrated SportsThe latest look at MMA. Each week, this column will provide insights and information on the most prominent stories from the fighting world.
Jan Blachowicz: “This is all about me and my belt”
Jan Blachowicz heads up Saturday’s UFC 267 undercard, defending his light heavyweight title in the main event against Glover Teixeira.
Blachowicz (28–8) is on the most successful streak of his career. He has won five in a row, as well as nine of his last 10, including a dominant performance in March against Israel Adesanya. Now he turns his attention to Teixeira (32-7), who has also counted five in a row.
“I think every time I fight, I need to prove to myself that I’m the best in the world,” says 38-year-old Blachowicz. “I did that against Adesanya, and I need to be stronger and better this time. When you defeat someone like Israel, you have to be better next time. And I’m stronger than ever. “
The 42-year-old Teixeira is a rival with a long history of success in the Octagon, but all signs point to a resounding victory for Blachowicz.
“This is all about me and my belt,” says Blachowicz. “I have nothing but respect for him, and he’s a great fighter, but this belt stays with me.”
The light heavyweight division received additional recognition when Adesanya rose to fight Blachowicz, but he has been losing his distinguished presence without the great, but always controversial, Jon Jones. Blachowicz expressed his fierce desire to fight Jones.
“He needs to fix his private life, but when he’s ready, that’s the fight I want,” says Blachowicz. “Do it heavyweight. I will do it. Now I’m thinking about Glover, but then that’s the fight I want. “
Beyond his desire to be the best in the world, Blachowicz noted that he does not need additional motivation to defeat Teixeira. He’s currently seventh in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings, and a dominating win could help him jump a spot or two.
“I like to fight and I want to be the best in the world, No. 1,” says Blachowicz. “When I stop, I want to stop with the belt in my hands. This is my life. I love this and I want to be the best. “
Conor McGregor found the perfect opponent in Tony Ferguson
Tony Ferguson is no longer in the UFC’s top five lightweights. However, he still ranks seventh, making him a prime opponent for someone looking for a dominant victory.
Enter Conor McGregor.
McGregor needs an impressive win before he gets another title shot, be it against Charles Oliveira or Dustin Poirier. And there is no better option for him in the top 10 ranking than Ferguson, who dropped his last three fights to Justin Gaethje, Oliveira and Beneil Dariush, and is simply no longer the dominant fighter he once was.
McGregor doesn’t dominate at lightweight as he did in the featherweight division, but Ferguson is an opponent who will outperform in walking and outclassing. This is the perfect fight for McGregor, but he won’t be the only one to benefit.
For Ferguson, this would be a well-deserved payday on his way out of UFC prominence. A fight against McGregor would be a main event that draws a significant buy rate and one more opportunity in the limelight for “The Boogeyman.”
The Pick ‘Em section
Here are my picks for this weekend’s fights:
UFC Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira
Pick: Jan Blachowicz
Interim bantamweight title fight: Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen
Pick: Petr Yan
Lightweight fight: Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker
Pick: Dan Hooker
Heavyweight fight: Alexander Volkov vs. Marcin Tybura
Pick: Alexander Volkov
Welterweight fight: Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Pick: Li Jingliang
Light Heavyweight Fight: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Pick: Magomed Ankalaev
Last week: 5 to 2
Current record: 38–21
More MMA coverage:
• Jorge Masvidal wants to teach Leon Edwards a lesson
• The multiple implications of Paulo Costa’s lack of weight
• Cory Sandhagen doesn’t risk running for the title lightly
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.