Aleksandar Rakić wants a rematch against Jan Blachowicz.
Rakić lost to Blachowicz via third-round TKO after suffering an injury at UFC Vegas 54 this past May. The No. 3 contender entered the fight with a torn ACL, which he has since undergone surgery to repair.
Recovery from ACL surgery could see a fighter out of action between six months to one year, but given how well the process has gone so far, Rakić told Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie that he could return to the Octagon either late 2022 or early 2023.
“I started with small jumps,” said Rakić on his recovery. “In three weeks, I’m going to start running again and to box again. I’ll do strength exercises. The recovery is going really good. I’m really fast and we will see. I think end of the year or maybe beginning of the new year I’m able to fight again. But let’s see what the doctor says, and the physiotherapist and the UFC.”
If he returns by then, Rakić would prefer a rematch against Blachowicz. The former UFC light heavyweight champion has campaigned for a championship opportunity against Jiří Procházka, who recently defeated Glover Teixeira in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate at UFC 275 in June. However, Procházka suggested an immediate rematch with Teixeira for his first defense.
Should Procházka vs. Texeira 2 get scheduled, Blachowicz would entertain potential fights against Israel Adesanya at middleweight and Kamaru Usman at light heavyweight. But before either of those happen, Rakić wants their rematch.
“Of course Jan is searching for that title fight, but come on,” said Rakić. “We need to be honest, he can’t be happy with that win. He didn’t beat me because he was the better man on that night. He beat me because I beat myself. I injured myself, so yeah. Now he’s talking he wants to go to middleweight to fight Adesanya, then he said he would welcome Usman to 205.
“Doesn’t make really sense, but I waited on him when he was injured, so let’s be a gentleman and wait for me and let’s finish this business because this is unfinished business,” continued Rakić. “He’s a true warrior, true athlete, I respect him, but this is unfinished business and I know I can beat him, and if this didn’t happen that night, if my knee didn’t pop out, I would be No. 1 contender and going to fight for the belt next.”
Rakić was on a two-fight win streak before the loss to Blachowicz.