UFC title contender Jiří Procházka tells what movie first got him interested in MMA.
The UFC light heavyweight division is a mix of older veterans and younger up-and-coming fighters. At the upcoming UFC 275 card, we will see a battle of the old guard versus the new dog when contender Jiří Procházka takes on champion Glover Teixeira.
Procházka has had a quick and dominant rise up the UFC rankings. He showed up in the division back in July of 2020, and with only two fights in the organization is up for his first title shot. Procházka is just 29 years old and now holds two KO victories over top-ranked light heavyweight opponents. He is being yielded as the next big thing at 205 pounds by some of his fellow fighters.
In the lead-up to possibly the biggest fight of his career, Procházka took some time to reflect on how he got his start in combat sports.
“Before high school, my first experience with martial arts was when I was playing “Tekken” on the PlayStation (laughs). That was my first experience. And then before I stepped into high school, my friend showed me Muay Thai videos with Ramon Dekkers, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and Fedor [Emelianenko]. It was around 2008, 2007. And I was excited by that,” Procházka told Scott Fontana of the NY Post.
“And after that, I saw the movie “Never Back Down,” the first one (laughs). And then I started to [train] martial arts, especially Thai boxing, and I really fell in love with it.”
Many fighters have claimed the influence of films for piquing their interest in martial arts, and Procházka is no different. He also cited the MMA cult classic “Never Back Down” as his favorite movie of all time.
It isn’t uncommon these days for UFC fighters to now make their way over to Hollywood to star in these fight films and even blockbuster movies. Georges St-Pierre, Michael Bisping, and Ronda Rousey are among some of the names that have made the leap. Maybe the same could be ahead for Procházka.
After all, Procházka has a very unique look about him that could translate well into film. Perhaps with a UFC championship belt around his waist, he too could be a star who inspires young children to begin their own training one day.
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