Jiri Prochazka is forced to watch the Light Heavyweight title scene from the sidelines.
A catastrophic shoulder injury forced the now-former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titleholder to vacate his belt just two weeks ahead of a scheduled Glover Teixeira rematch atop UFC 282 earlier this month (Dec. 10, 2022). The removal led to both fighters falling off the card and the co-main event between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev getting promoted to the vacant title main event.
Unfortunately for all involved, Blachowicz versus Ankalaev resulted in a split draw, leaving the title vacant ... still. UFC President, Dana White, quickly acted on the matter, putting together the aforementioned odd man out, Teixeira, against Jamahal Hill at UFC 283 on Jan. 21, 2023, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Despite his hopes of returning much sooner than anticipated, Prochazka will have to watch things unfold while recovering.
“I think that’s a good match up,” Prochazka told CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri. “I don’t know if Hill deserves that opportunity to fight for the title. For Glover, it’s great because he will fight in Rio, in his home. So, that for him is very good. I’m looking forward to that fight. I’m looking forward to their performances.”
As great as Prochazka’s title-capturing moment against Teixeira in June 2022 was (watch highlights), fans aplenty were on the fence regarding if it should be run back so soon. In the end, there’s a strong chance that part two of one of 2022’s best bouts never happens. It ultimately all boils down to how quickly “Denisa” can get back in the Octagon.
“Like I said before, it doesn’t matter who will be the titleholder,” Prochazka said. “I know the title is mine and will be. I will come for that.
“I just took that [rematch with Glover] because I felt that Glover deserved that opportunity,” he continued. “I don’t need to fight Glover again. If he will be the champion, I will fight him, I will fight whoever. Doesn’t matter. It’s not about the opponent.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 283 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 283: “Teixeira vs. Hill” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.