It’s been over a year since Jan Blachowicz laid claim to the throne in the light heavyweight division and took over from Jon Jones as champion.
An excellent performance against Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 saw him earn the knockout victory and end the long road to a title that he had been pushing for, for years.
It was his 15th fight with the organisation, which started with four defeats in his first six bouts between 2014 and 2017.
Following a defeat to Patrick Cummins at UFC 210, Blachowicz went to the well and honed his craft.
Six months later he returned to the cage in his homeland of Poland to submit Devin Clark, before a decision win over now middleweight contender Jared Cannonier meant he ended the year with some momentum.
He then avenged his loss to Jimi Manuwa the following year and then stopped Nikita Krylov via submission to make it three post-fight bonuses in four fights. He had arrived.
A knockout defeat to Thiago Santos followed, as the Brazilian made his own ascent towards a title challenge. But Blachowicz refused to lie down and built back up once again.
He starched Luke Rockhold at UFC 239 with a stunning knockout, before a split decision win over Jacare Souza in Brazil. He followed that up with a knockout win over current Bellator contender Corey Anderson to make it two more performance bonuses in three fights before the title fight with Reyes.
After dominating Reyes in that fight, his first defence came against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who was moving up as an undefeated fighter to try and become a double champ.
Blachowicz shut that train down though, largely controlling the fight and wrestling his way to victory and handing Adesanya the first defeat of his professional MMA career.
But despite dominant displays in his two title fights, there are still question marks over his reign.
He never beat the long-time champion to win the belt, and his first defence came against an under-sized opponent who he didn’t even finish. At UFC 267 though, he will take on the official number one contender and experienced Glover Teixeira.
It’s a fight that is hard to believe has never happened before, but these two experienced giants are without a doubt two of the very best in the world in their division.
Teixeira is a super talented boxer on the feet, with one of the nastiest ground games in all of the UFC. This is a genuine test for Blachowicz, who is taking the bout seriously and readying himself for war.
But while question marks remain over his reign, there will be none should he leave UFC 267 victorious on Saturday night. He will be the undisputed best light heavyweight in the world, and his belt will prove it.
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