Jan Blachowicz was still trying to process what happened in his fight with Magomed Ankalaev after the judges scored the bout as a split draw when UFC color commentator Joe Rogan approached them both for an interview.
In the moment with his head still spinning and overwhelmed with emotion after essentially coming up short in his bid to reclaim the light heavyweight title at UFC 282, Blachowicz told Rogan that he didn’t feel that he won — but he still needed to rewatch the fight to understand how it all unfolded.
Now that he’s had time to look back at the fight and reflect, Blachowicz admits he was unhappy with how everything was handled in the cage, especially as he was still trying to clear his head after losing the fifth round in an impromptu title fight that came together just days earlier.
“I watched this fight a couple of times and I listened to a lot of opinions about this fight and for me, what I said after the fight to give the belt to Ankalaev, I said that because I was stuck in the [fifth] round,” Blachowicz explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “All that was on my mind was the [fifth] round. I completely forgot about the rest of the fight.
“Joe Rogan, when he stepped into the octagon, he said for him I lost the fight. That was what I was thinking. He made a mistake that he said something like this to me after the fight. Because everyone who thinks that I lost the fight, watch only the last round. For me, a draw is a fair decision and seriously, I think that I was closer to winning the fight than Ankalaev. One more kick and it would be over, a TKO or if I would have defended his takedowns in the [fifth] round, stay a little bit longer on the feet, the fight would be mine. I could be disappointed about that [judges] but I’m not because I saw the fight… I watched the fight a couple of times, a draw for me is fair.”
When the final decision was tallied, judge Mike Bell had given Blachowicz the fight with a 48-47 score with him winning the first three rounds while judge Sal D’Amato had it exactly the same way except he scored the fifth round as a 10- 8 for Ankalaev.
That ultimately led to a 47-47 scorecard and with judge Derek Cleary giving the fight to Ankalaev, the result was a split draw.
In the aftermath, Blachowicz raised Ankalaev’s hand, which led to Rogan asking him if he felt like the fight should have gone to the Russian. Blachowicz responded that he didn’t feel like he was victorious but he also couldn’t say for certain that he lost.
Rogan then said “you are a very honorable man, the way you did that to me that felt like you felt you’d lost that decision.” Then speaking to Ankalaev moments later, Rogan added “we thought you won the fight – when [Daniel Cormier] and I at the end of the fight, we thought you had done enough, particularly in the last rounds, you used your grappling.”
Looking back now, Blachowicz believes a draw was a fair decision but he didn’t appreciate Rogan injecting his opinion as he was still trying to wrap his head around what just unfolded.
“Joe Rogan, he shouldn’t say something like this to me after the fight,” Blachowicz said. “I was stuck in the last round and then Joe Rogan said ‘that was a good fight but for me you lost the fight.’ After the fight, when I go to the locker room and I start talking with a lot of people backstage from different teams, they said ‘don’t say that you lost the fight, you didn’t lose this fight, a round is OK’ but maybe you won the fight. So don’t say it.’
“I said OK, maybe I’m thinking a little bit bad about the fight and then I started to remember the first three rounds. It looks different, not like the last round. When they said the draw, it was a weird situation because I couldn’t be happy but I also couldn’t feel bad about myself. Because I didn’t win but I also didn’t [lose]. I feel a little bit empty inside.”
As much as he wishes he left with the UFC light heavyweight title that night, Blachowicz isn’t necessarily arguing that he deserved the win but he also doesn’t see how Ankalaev feels as if he was robbed in the decision.
“That’s why I think the draw is fair. It’s a fair decision for both of us,” Blachowicz said. “I should be more disappointed. Because I was closer to winning the fight, not Ankalaev.
“But it is what it is. What can I do? Nothing. Now it’s just history. I need to focus on the fight, what goes well, what [went wrong], it’s obvious and that’s it. It’s history right now.”
In his own interview after the fight, Ankalaev told Dagestan News that he actually endured “the worst training camp” of his life heading into UFC 282 while also stating that he had “a lot of injuries” but still felt like he “did enough to get my hand raised.”
Nothing about the fight was ideal for either competitor, especially considering Blachowicz and Ankalaev were both preparing for three rounds before being shifted into a title bout on just two weeks’ notice after former champion Jiri Prochazka relinquished the belt following a serious shoulder injury.
For his part, Blachowicz wishes the situation had been different, but he stands by his performance in the cage that night.
It angers him that Ankalaev isn’t doing the same.
“Excuses. I hate when someone says it like this,” Blachowicz said about Ankalaev. “It pisses me off when someone uses excuses. I never said that my camp was bad, I had injuries or something like this. If you feel bad, stay home, drink tea with honey and relax. If you go to the fight, don’t excuse yourself. It just shows your weakness and that’s it.
“Everybody said that I was going to lose the fight, the bookmakers and everybody thought that he would knock me out and finish me in the first round, but I almost won the fight. Now he’s looking at excuses, why he wasn’t so good in the fight. Why? Because I was very good in this fight. Because I don’t let him do what he always does in the fight. That was the reason. Now he says ‘I was injured, my camp was bad.’ Bulls***. I don’t believe in that. This is weakness. That’s it.”