Magomed Ankalaev: UFC title is ‘rightfully’ mine, Jan Blachowicz’s ‘Polish power’ won’t work at UFC 282

LAS VEGAS – Magomed Ankalaev is adamant he won’t crumble under the “Polish power” of Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282, and says nothing is going to stop him from capturing the vacant light heavyweight title.

Ankalaev (18-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) will meet Blachowicz (29-9 MMA, 12-6 UFC) in Saturday’s headliner, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+. The belt is up for grabs after Jiri Prochazka suffered a serious shoulder injury that could keep him out for more than a year, and now, a new champion will be crowned.

With a divisional-best nine-fight UFC winning streak, Ankalaev has been trending to the top of the 205-pound weight class for some time. His opportunity has now arrived, and he intends to take advantage.

“The day has finally arrived – the day we have waited for, for so long – we will show what we’re worth this Saturday, we will come and take what’s rightfully ours,” Ankalaev told MMA Junkie and other reporters through an interpreter at Wednesday’s UFC 282 media day. “I basically did step-by-step. I pretty much knew at some point they would not have a choice to give me a title fight.”

Prior to Prochazka’s injury, Ankalaev was scheduled to fight Blachowicz in a three-round bout as the co-main event on the card. The fight is now slated for 25 minutes, and while Ankalaev holds Blachowicz in high regard, he’ll be trying to inflict punishment every second that ticks off the clock.

“I can’t say anything bad about Blachowicz as an opponent,” Ankalaev said. “He’s a great fighter. He’s a great guy. But the thing is, this fight is my dream. This is my opportunity. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure I come out of that octagon with the title.”

Should Ankalaev capture the vacant strap, he already has a queue of potential fights on the horizon. UFC president Dana White has said Glover Teixeira will be next in line, then Prochazka will get a chance to reclaim gold once he’s recovered from injury.

Whoever comes for him, though, Ankalaev said he’ll be ready, and he intends to hold the gold for years to come.

“I’m here – I’m not trying to go anywhere,” Ankalaev said. “So once I get this title, I’m not trying to escape. I’m going to stand here and wait for anybody who is ready to fight. Anybody who wants to take that title off of my belt, I will make sure to fight as many times as I can.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 282.


Video: 'UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev' media day live stream

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie