The stock on Jiri Prochazka is exponentially growing day by day after his sensational spinning back elbow knockout of the now no. 5 ranked light heavyweight Dominick Reyes in their main event fight on UFC Vegas 25.
After his fantastic finish, Prochazka moved up the rankings to the no. 2 in the light heavyweight division. Now, many fans, fighters and pundits believe a title shot should be next for Prochazka.
With Jan Blachowicz scheduled to make his second defense of the light heavyweight championship against no. 1 contender Glover Teixeira at UFC 266, Prochazka is now faced with the decision to either stay active or wait for the winner of Blachowicz and Teixeira.
Prochazka believes he needs time to prepare to face the winner, and as a result, he prefers to wait it out.
“I need to use these skills from my last fight to prepare,” Prochazka told ESPN. “I think I need a little time, so I think the whole year will be a great time [to prepare].”
Prochazka said the UFC had told him after his victory over Reyes that he will be fighting for the title next.
But for the surging 28-year-old, the title shot seems sudden, although he is certainly willing to challenge for the belt.
“I said ‘Why? Why so early?’ I said [to the UFC] ‘Okay, let’s go. Let’s go for the title in the shortest way’,” Prochazka said. “But I was not ready to talk about that after the fight. So it was a little surprising to me.
“But now I think I need a little time to upgrade a little bit of my style because 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 this fight with Reyes, I can’t do that in the title fight.”
While Prochazka’s ”vision” for his next fight is a shot at the light heavyweight championship, he has no problem facing someone like no. 3 ranked Aleksandar Rakic if he is called on to do so.
“If the UFC or president of the UFC, Dana White will say ‘No you need to fight with Rakic first’. Okay, let’s do that,” Prochazka said. “But I think I deserve this fight because Dominick was a great opponent for that and he is better than Aleksandar, nothing personal.”
If Prochazka’s vision is correct, with impressive victories over high ranking, talented opponents, the charismatic contender from Czech Republic will be challenging for the light heavyweight championship in just his third fight in the promotion.