Jan Blachowicz’s UFC career appeared to be in jeopardy ahead of his homecoming at UFC Gdansk.
After signing with the UFC in 2014, the former KSW light heavyweight champion amassed a 2-4 record in the Octagon and it looked like another defeat at the hands of Devin Clark could have resulted in the end of his promotional tenure.
But Blachowicz thrilled his home crowd with a second-round rear-naked choke finish of the American in Poland. Two months later, he had banked his first two-fight win streak with the promotion when he edged Jared Cannonier at UFC on FOX 26.
According to Blachowicz, it was all down to his return to the coach that led him to prominence in his fledgling days, Robert Jocz.
“I returned to my old coach,” said Blachowicz at Thursday’s media day.
“He was one of my first coaches and when I trained with him, I won everything. That was before I signed with the UFC. Then, when I signed with the UFC, I changed gyms and everything started going bad.”
Blachowicz insisted that it was his choice to leave his original gym. After he signed a big deal, he assumed that it was time for him to move on. However, his form after his exodus pointed to the contrary.
“I don’t know why I changed (my team),” he admitted. “I was thinking, ‘Now I’m in the UFC, I better do something different,’ and that was it. At the time, I was thinking that I wasn’t doing enough so I changed gyms. I thought I was going to a better gym and I was wrong.”
After leaving Jocz, the Polish light heavyweight thought his new team had a negative impact on his career.
“I’m not the youngest fighter in the world, but I’m not the oldest either,” Blachowicz admitted. “When I changed coaches, he started to change me, my style and my game plans. Now that I’ve come back, I do the same things that were working (in my early career) and it’s good for me.”
Luckily for Blachowicz, Jocz didn’t hold a grudge when he left and welcomed him back to his gym.
“He was happy (when I came back),” Blachowicz said. “When I left him, we didn’t have an argument, we still talked a lot on the phone. When I came back it was normal.”
With Jocz at his side again, Blachowicz expects a different outcome in his rematch with Jimi Manuwa in London, having dropped a decision to the Londoner at UFC Krakow.
“I forgot about our first fight a long time ago,” Blachowicz said. “I’m going to be a different fighter. I don’t like to think about that loss. I know what I have to do to win this time.”