Jiri Prochazka - The Czech Samurai


Jiří Procházka (Czech: [jɪˈr̝iː pr̩oˈxaːˈzka] (YI-RZHEE PRO-KHAH-ZKA); affectionately known as Jirka; born October 14, 1992) is a Czech professional mixed martial artist and former amateur Muay Thai kickboxer who competes in the light heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is the inaugural and former Rizin FF Light Heavyweight Champion and also the inaugural and former Czech GCF Light Heavyweight Champion. As of March 2021, he is ranked #6 in the Sherdog's official MMA light heavyweight rankings, and as of May 2021, he is ranked #6 in the Fight Matrix's light heavyweight rankings. As of May 4, 2021, he is #2 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings. Procházka was born on October 14, 1992 in the south Moravian part of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (now Czech Republic). Procházka's father died when he was 6 years old. In his youth, Procházka played amateur football for TJ Družstevník Hostěradice. He was also an active freestyle BMX rider and a floorball player. At the age of 16, while in the Brno Protective Service Secondary Academy, where Procházka was required to take courses in combatives (primally Kodokan Judo & Jujutsu, led at the academy by Milan Haška, and the H. Nishiyama's IAKF-style of Traditional Karate, led by Aleš Róth), he started training Muay Thai in Jetsaam Gym Brno under the tutelage of Martin Karaivanov to better improve his hand-to-hand combat skills. Immediately after graduating from the academy, Procházka won a national Muay Thai championship on June 30, 2011. Procházka made his professional MMA debut in April 2012 for the Gladiator Fighting Championship, the biggest promotion in his native Czech Republic at the time. Procházka signed contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship in January 2020. He made his promotional debut against former UFC Light Heavyweight title challenger Volkan Oezdemir on July 11, 2020 at UFC 251. He won via knockout in the second round and was awarded a Performance of the Night bonus award, becoming the first man to ever knock out Oezdemir. In the official UFC 2020 year-end list of the Ten Best Newcomers, Procházka was ranked #5. Procházka was expected to face former two–time UFC Light Heavyweight Championship title challenger Dominick Reyes on February 27, 2021 at UFC Fight Night 186 to serve as the event headliner. However, in late January, it was reported that Reyes was pulled from the fight, citing injury, and the bout was rescheduled for May 1 at UFC on ESPN: Reyes vs. Procházka. In a back and forth fight, Procházka overwhelmed Reyes with his volume and knocked Reyes unconscious with a spinning back elbow in the second round. This win earned Procházka the Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night bonus awards. Procházka is well-known as a devoted follower of the Bushido principles, the samurai moral values and the Miyamoto Musashi's teachings and philosophy, especially the Musashi's The Book of Five Rings, which Procházka considered as a life-changing book for him. He is a supporter of FC Zbrojovka Brno and was involved in organized football hooliganism, including pre-arranged fights, until he started his professional combat sports career. Besides his native Czech, Procházka is conversational in English (as of his UFC debut) and has a working proficiency in Japanese and German. Procházka is a graduate of the his local Protective Service Secondary Academy (Czech: SOŠ OOM), now the Brno's School of Law & Security (Czech: BPA), and he is currently enrolled at Masaryk University, where he is majoring in security forces physical fitness policy.