Jiri Prochazka is one of Asian MMA’s biggest success stories in that he has made the transition from being a star at the regional level to challenging for a UFC title. The fan favourite from the Czech Republic faces Glover Teixeira this weekend with the light heavyweight title on the line.

He is an interesting character who has a fascination with Asian history and culture that dates back to the very start of his MMA career. Prochazka also admitted this week to being involved in football hooliganism before realizing that fighting could be more of a career choice than a hobby.

He heads into the fight on the back of a remarkable 12 fight inning streak dating back to his Rizin days. He was the inaugural light heavyweight champion with the Japanese promotion before jumping ship to sign with the UFC.

Having signed with the UFC in 2020, the 29-year-old scored back-to-back knockout victories against Volkan Oezdimir and Dominick Reyes to earn a shot at Teixeira’s belt. Those wins both earned him performance bonuses.

Special talent

Not only is Prochazka a special talent, but he’s unique both in the way he fights and the way he carries himself. His nickname is ‘BJP’ and the reference will be lost on anyone who doesn’t speak Czech but he says it dates back to the early days of his fighting career.

These letters are the abbreviated version of Czech phrase ‘bomby jak pica’. According to Prochazka this roughly translates as ‘bomb the s**t out of them’.

“So ‘BJP’ began around 2009 I gave this name to my Sunday training — to have the biggest bombs in my hand to finish whoever. That’s how it began, but after time, after many training sessions, every Sunday from 2009 until this day, I’m keeping it every Sunday,” he explained.

Prochazka says he has evolved over the years and is no longer totally reliant on his power. Now he combines speed and strategy with his original strength,

“I’ve changed it from not just having the biggest bombs in my hands, but having the best techniques, the best strategy. I started to be focused not just for the biggest punch, but for the things that are most important for the fight — to be smartest, to have the best conditioning, best Fight IQ.”

Well travelled

Prochazka might have started out in the Czech Republic but he has travelled all over the world to train. Ahead of UFC 275 he travelled to Fight Ready in Arizona, Frontline Academy in Norway and Bang Tao Muay Thai in Phuket.

“I was looking to do the next step, especially in the wrestling.”

It sounds like Prochazka wants to be able to control where the action takes place this weekend,

“It is about defence in wrestling, about attacking in wrestling,” he explained.

He has been on the sidelines for a year while waiting for his title shot. But Prochazka is odds on to become the UFC light heavyweight champion and sounds extremely confident,

“I know I have the right technique, the right condition, the right Fight IQ to be on the top, to be the best in my weight category. I’m ready to take the crown, to show the world that I am the champion, the future.”