UFC news: Aleksandar Rakic targeting Jan Blachowicz after beating Thiago Santos

Aleksandar Rakic

Aleksandar Rakic has made it clear he wants to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title.

After comfortably outpointing former title challenger Thiago Santos in his most recent appearance last month, the 29-year-old Austrian has now set his sights on earning a title opportunity of his own. 

It seems Blachowicz (28-8) wants a big-name battle with Jon Jones or Francis Ngannou after beating middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 in Las Vegas.

But with both Jones and Ngannou pushing for a potential super-fight in the summer - although the former is currently at loggerheads with UFC president Dana White - Blachowicz may have to bide his time. 

And Rakic, who is currently ranked sixth in the rankings, has opened the door to a fight between the 38-year-old Blachowicz and himself. 

"I think I deserve the title shot," he said to MMAFighting. "If you see realistically I am 7-0 in the UFC, this one loss against Volkan [Oezdemir] wasn’t a loss, and Thiago was the third former title challenger in a row, and I beat all of them. So, who else, you know? Who else?"

However, he faces stiff competition from the likes of top contenders Jiri Prochazka and Glover Texeira, the former of which faces two-time title challenger Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC Fight Night on May 1. But Rakic feels he should be able to skip to the front of the queue to fight Blachowicz. 

"Why not?" he said. "I’m young, I’m hungry and motivated, and I’m here to stay. I told Dana White after the fight, ‘I’m gonna be your new guy and new face of the light heavyweight division.’ I’m gonna dominate the division for long and you’re gonna to see every fight a better Aleksandar Rakic."

Rakic was unbeaten but otherwise relatively unknown in his UFC career before taking Volkan Oezdemir three rounds to a contentious split-decision loss in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 165 in Busan, South Korea.

He has picked up back-to-back victories over Santos and Smith since then to extend his professional record to 14 wins and two defeats, with nine of those wins coming by way of knockout.  

Unfortunately for Rakic, Blachowicz seems to be of the mind that Texeira, who has beaten both Santos and Anthony Smith in his past two fights, has done enough to earn a title shot next.

If that does indeed prove to be the case, however, he would jump at the chance to become the backup fighter should the opportunity arise. 

"I would love to be the backup fighter," he said. "It’s a big opportunity for me. But, if not, I would love to fight for the title. I think I proved to everyone that I’m deserving. I’m unbeaten in the UFC and it’s just a matter of time. But if the UFC comes to me with a backup fight for Glover and Jan, yes, I would jump in, of course."

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