Jan Blachowicz Wins Convincingly, but Specter of Jon Jones Still Looms

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“Jon Jones, the place are you?”

That is what the UFC’s new gentle heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz mentioned to the digicam instantly upon stopping top-ranked contender Dominick Reyes within the second spherical on Saturday night time at UFC’s Combat Island in Abu Dhabi.

For the primary time in nearly a decade, there is a new 205-pound champ within the UFC not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier.

Each these guys are surefire UFC Corridor of Famers. Let’s face it, although; the one purpose Cormier ever wore that belt within the first place was due to Jones’ suspensions and quite a few points exterior the Octagon.

With apologies to Matt Hamill, who technically beat Jones in 2009, however solely as a result of Jones was disqualified for utilizing unlawful elbows in a one-sided beatdown, the one person who’s ever actually defeated Jones is Jones.

The 30-year-old Reyes claimed to have achieved simply that although not less than half of the individuals who noticed him problem Jones at UFC 247 earlier this yr thought the battle might have gone both means.

Extra importantly, the three judges sitting cageside scored the battle for Jones, so The Devastator’s case largely rested on the opinion of people that simply weren’t all that used to seeing Jones in aggressive fights.

Why would they be? It had nearly by no means occurred earlier than.

Blachowicz entered his massive battle towards Reyes on a three-fight successful streak, however nearly nobody thought he would pull off the upset. No person at Bleacher Report picked him to win the battle, and just one author, Scott Harris, thought he would even make it to the ultimate bell.

However the 37-year-old Poland native dominated and stopped Reyes in what’s most likely the very best and most necessary victory of his profession.

Blachowicz threw and landed tougher strikes within the first spherical, and by the second spherical, the timid Reyes had an enormous bruise on his proper aspect because of the heavy kicks he had taken.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Jan Blachowicz’s left physique kick is brutal 😰 #UFC253 https://t.co/1eQWsLffrG

Then, it appeared Blachowicz had damaged Reyes’ nostril, so the American determined his finest plan of action was to assault his opponent with a newfound ferocity.

That did not work.

Blachowicz harm Reyes badly together with his sharper punches, then gained the ultimate trade with a tough left hook that despatched Reyes down for good. Moments later, Blachowicz had his hand raised excessive within the air because the winner of the battle, and all he might assume to do together with his massive second was name out Jones.

“Jon Jones, the place are you?”

Are you able to blame him?

The Polish powerhouse had come so near securing a battle towards Jones earlier this yr that the duo mainly reduce a promo video collectively on the fly after Blachowicz knocked out Corey Anderson again in February.

However Blachowicz misplaced his massive probability when Jones determined to maneuver up in weight.

Jones remains to be the pound-for-pound king of the UFC. He gained 15 title fights in a row earlier than vacating his belt to maneuver as much as the heavyweight ranks to hunt for larger and assumedly extra profitable trophies.

Nobody goes to return near doing what Jones did within the gentle heavyweight division for a very long time.

Someplace deep down inside, Blachowicz is aware of that. It doesn’t matter what he does from now to the tip of his reign, all he’ll have within the debate is that he beat the man that Jones beat, too.

Certain, Reyes gave Jones all he might deal with of their bout at UFC 247. However by the tip of the night time, all Reyes had gained was the hearts and minds of a number of the individuals who watched it.

Certain, there was a thought going across the UFC neighborhood that perhaps Reyes was on his method to beginning his personal legacy as a UFC champ and that his battle towards Blachowicz was nothing greater than a coronation ceremony. And Blachowicz will all the time get credit score for proving all these individuals mistaken. Effectively achieved.

He walked by way of Reyes like none of what occurred at UFC 247 mattered in any respect, and now Poland is the house of sunshine heavyweight supremacy.

“Do not be a quitter,” Blachowicz mentioned to Jones by way of Jon Anik throughout his post-fight interview. “I am right here. That is how we do it in Poland. I am ready for you.”

ESPN MMA @espnmma

“Jon Jones, the place are you?”

New gentle heavyweight king @JanBlachowicz calls out the previous king after his #UFC253 coronation 👑 https://t.co/PhzH99J2Nl

However Jones is not fairly a quitter on this case, is he?

Jones is a finisher, and what he completed as one of the vital dominant champions in UFC historical past will not quickly be toppled by Blachowicz or most likely every other gentle heavyweight champion that comes after him both.

So it doesn’t matter what Blachowicz did towards Reyes at UFC 253, the specter of Jones will nonetheless loom massive over the 205-pound division for a very long time.

“Jon Jones, the place are you?”

The reply to that’s simple. He is within the historical past books—at 205 kilos not less than—so the very best factor Blachowicz can do now could be let the ghost of Jones go so he can begin writing his personal story.

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