UFC 259: Who is UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz?

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya's attempt at Octagon history goes through 'Polish Power' on Sunday in Las Vegas.

The Nigerian-Kiwi challenges Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title in a bid to be the first man to hold both championship belts concurrently.

'The Last Stylebender' would also join an elite list of fighters who have held two UFC titles in two separate weight classes, at the same time.

But despite being a big betting favourite with the bookies, the road to combat sports mortality is a tough one, with the Pole posing perhaps the scariest skillset of any who have crossed paths with Adesanya.

So who is Jan Blachowicz?

From the brink of losing his job to conquering one of the UFC's marquee divisions, the 38-year-old has reinvented himself as one of the very best combat sports athletes on the planet.

Blachowicz joined the UFC ranks in 2014 with a 16-3 record. Having already dispatched UFC veterans Houston Alexander, Goran Reljic and Christian M'pumbu, there was real hope the division had a hot prospect.

With a background in judo and a holder of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Blachowicz was primarily a grappler with heavy hands.

But he struggled to make an impact inside the Octagon, losing four of his first six fights in a three-year stretch.

But an October 2017 victory over Devin Clark saved Blachowicz from a UFC pink slip, and since that fight, he has won eight from nine.

The only slip up came against former middleweight Thiago Santos, who knocked the Polish native out in the 3rd round of their 2018 bout.

That is a fight that makes for pleasing reading if you are Adesanya and his team, with Santos sharing may similarities to that of the City Kickboxing star.

Santos is a skilled striker with decent takedown defence and excellent cardio. He survived a first-round grappling clinic from Blachowicz, who ran out of steam as the fight hit deep waters.

But again Blachowicz went back to the drawing board and uncovered his now infamous 'Polish Power'. He has since built a championship resume, finishing former UFC champion Luke Rockhold and perennial contender Corey Anderson.

He also dispatched Ronaldo Souza via split decision, and then in September last year, Bkachowicz claimed UFC gold, stopping Dominic Reyes in a battle for the title vacated by Jon Jones.

Blachowicz exchanges with Thiago Santos
Blachowicz exchanges with Thiago Santos Photo credit: Getty
Blachowicz knocks out Luke Rockhold
Blachowicz knocks out Luke Rockhold Photo credit: Getty
Blachowicz won UFC gold with victory over Dominic Reyes
Blachowicz won UFC gold with victory over Dominic Reyes Photo credit: Getty

And on Sunday, Blachowicz has the chance to cement his name in history by being the first man to beat Israel Adesanya in mixed martial arts. And despite a less than stellar 27-8 record, the last three years tells a different story - a story that says Blachowicz is the real deal.

With a 8-1 record since December 2017, a former UFC champion on his hit list, as well as top-five talent in Souza, Reyes and Anderson, the 6ft 1 champion is a scary roadblock.

Adesanya and his team are taking this challenge very seriously, and so they should - one mistake and it could be curtains for 'Izzy' and his perfect record. 

Join Newshub for live updates of UFC 259 from 2pm Sunday, March 7.