The talk of the UFC light heavyweight division is undoubtedly former RIZIN champion Jiri Prochazka, who has recorded consecutive sensational knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes. As for who’s next? Well we don’t know that at the moment, but one contender is calling him out.
Austria’s Aleksandar Rakic (14-2) is on a two-fight winning streak, albeit in unexciting fashion over former title challengers Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, and he has his eyes on Prochazka for his next fight, with the winner getting a title shot.
“Everybody is talking about my last two fights. They were boring, and I didn’t knock them out,” Rakic said an interview with MMA Junkie. “Everybody had that one fight that was not so spectacular, and in the last fight against Santos, we knew he’s dangerous in the counters, so I was a little bit patient with my attacks because he’s wild, wild countering. So that’s the reason the fight went like this, but a win is a win.
“I know I can knock anybody out in the division, and I can finish anybody in the division. It’s just a matter of time. I don’t want to force any knockouts or any submission. It will come by itself. But I know what I’m capable of doing, and this is the fight that makes the most sense, me and Jiri, and the winner is gonna fight for the title.”
Rakic sports a 6-1 UFC record, with that lone defeat coming by split decision to Oezdemir. The latest rankings have Prochazka at #2 and Rakic at #3, with Glover Teixeira at #1 and scheduled to fight champion Jan Blachowicz in September.
While Rakic has praise for Prochazka’s aggressive, creative striking, he believes he has the wrestling and grappling advantage against the Czech. His proposal is that they book him and Jiri on the undercard of Blachowicz vs. Teixeira, and if you ask me (which you didn’t), this seems like a good use of a five-round non-title co-main event slot.
“If the UFC want to do it with me and Jiri in September on the same card as Jan and Glover, that would be great for the division,” Rakic said. “It’s up to the UFC what they want. It’s a lot of hype around Jiri, and I understand this. He did a very good job, but someone needs to stop the hype.”