Jiri Prochazka is leaning on former UFC champions to prepare him for a light heavyweight title fight against Glover Teixeira in May. Prochazka, who captured the imagination of fans with his action-movie style, has achieved top contender status after just two fights inside the Octagon.
Prochazka, the inaugural Rizin light heavyweight champion, has been in touch with former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former two-division titleholder Henry Cejudo. Cejudo is also working as a coach with Deiveson Figueiredo, who just recaptured the flyweight title in his trilogy bout with Brandon Moreno at UFC 270, and Zhang Weili.
“In February, I am thinking about and working towards preparation in America. Especially with Henry Cejudo and Jon Jones there. I want to go there and work on my wrestling. I especially want to take my wrestling to the next level. I’m really looking forward to that,” Prochazka told CBS Sports. “I’m a big fan of Figueiredo. His style is great. It’s an honor to go there and train with these guys.”
Check out the full interview with Jiri Prochazka below.
Teixeira hopes to enlist a champion of his own: former Strikeforce champion and Rizin Heavyweight Grand Prix winner “King Mo” Muhammad Lawal. “King Mo” knocked out Prochazka in 2015; however, he lost their 2019 rematch via TKO.
“I fought ‘King Mo’ two times. The second time, when I defeated him in the Rizin title fight, I was a different guy than the first time he won,” Prochazka said. “From that Rizin title fight to now, I’m five levels up. He can talk with [Teixeira] and give him special tips for me, but I think I’m another person. I’m a different person in character. I changed myself completely since that time. It doesn’t matter. If ‘King Mo’ will help him to be a better fighter, I’ll be glad for that. I want to fight the best version of Glover’s style.”
Prochazka (28-3-1) also expressed his dislike towards fellow contender Aleksandar Rakic. Rakic has accused Prochazka of ducking a fight between them, but Prochazka argues the opposite. According to Prochazka, Rakic turned down a fight when the latter was ahead in the rankings. When Prochazka lept ahead in the contenders’ ladder, Rakic allegedly came calling for a scrap.
“We talked about a fight with Rakic, but it was before the fight with [Dominick] Reyes. We challenged him,” Prochazka said. “He said, ‘Sorry, I don’t want to go with you. I’m looking for the title.’ After I jumped in front of him [in the rankings], he turned and started to challenge me. He started with this bulls— screaming. I’m not interested in that.
“Especially for that because can’t speak normally. Like a normal man. Like a warrior. Especially in this game, I prefer to speak with other guys, with my colleagues, with some honor. To speak on a personal level. Not to trash talk. I hate it because that just shows his weakness. The big challenge for me is now a title. After that, I’ll be glad to fight with him. But that’s not in front of me right now.”
UFC 274 takes place on May 7. A location has not been finalized for the event.
[Author’s note. Some quotes were tweaked for clarity.]