If you thought you saw Jiri Prochazka enter his final form in his fight with Dominick Reyes, think again.
Prochazka, 28, overcame some early adversity to put a stamp on the 205-pound division last Saturday night, sending Reyes crashing to the canvas with a spinning elbow at 4 minutes, 29 seconds of the second round in the main event of UFC Vegas 25.
While many fans have come to accept the Czech Republic light-heavyweight as the No. 1 contender, others feel that he is very much still a work in progress.
Former Rizin FF light-heavyweight champion Prochazka (28-3-1) recently revealed he plans on taking some time away from the sport to improve his skills.
But don’t worry, UFC fans; he expects to be back by November at the latest to face the winner of the upcoming title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira – and become king of the world by Christmas.
“I’ve thought about that and I think I need a little time [to improve my skills]. So I think [six months] would be a great time,” Prochazka said in a recent interview with ESPN. “I think I need a little time to upgrade my style a little bit.
“I’m growing from fight to fight, and for an opponent like Blachowicz or Teixeira, I need to take just a little time to upgrade my style and to use new weapons, to be more dangerous, to use more precision, because these mistakes from the fight with Reyes, I can’t do that in the title fight.”
“That’s my plan, that’s my vision. If the UFC, or the president of the UFC, Dana White, say, ‘no, you need to fight [Aleksandar] Rakic first’, okay, let’s do that. But I think I deserve this fight because Dominick was a great opponent.”
As for the fight itself, Prochazka thinks his ‘Fight of the Night’ performance against Reyes (12-3) left a lot to be desired. He is happy to get the victory but thinks there are a few more kinks to work out.
“I’m not happy with the fight,” he added. “I’m happy that I made a step up from the first fight because the first round [against Volkan Oezdemir] was horrible for me and I needed to change this style, and upgrade it to more defense and having my hands up, and that stuff.
“But there was some many punches that Dominick landed on me, and each one of those punches can be the finisher. That’s not the right way [to fight].”
Prochazka expects he will have to fight Blachowicz next, which he considers to be an exciting prospect – but he’s not in a hurry. He’s content to sit and wait for the right opportunity.
“Yeah, I think the same. I watch Blachowicz, how he talks, how he is like a person, and I like him.”
“It will be a pleasure to fight with him and I will enjoy all these things around the fight.”