A chilling encounter with a body found hanging from a tree has helped resurrect the career of veteran UFC fighter who three years ago was on the verge of hanging up his gloves.
Polish fighter Jan Blachowicz, 38, defended his UFC Light Heavyweight title in style with victory over fearsome New Zealander Israel Adesanya in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The win marks an incredible change in form for the Pole – who has won nine out of 10 bouts in the competition dating back to October 2017.
Blachowicz puts his resurgent form down to the grisly discovery he stumbled upon during a dog walk in a forest near Warsaw.
Jan Blachowicz with his fiance Dorota Jurkowska. She said in 2017 she feared he would be cut from the UFC because of a string of losses
Jan Blachowicz, 38, (left) beat Kiwi Israel Adesanya in resounding style in their UFC Light Heavyweight championship fight on Saturday
BLACHOWICZ’S ‘VOODOO-INSPIRED’ TURNAROUND
Patrick Cummins – LOSS
Alexander Gustafsson – LOSS
Igor Pokrajac – WIN
Corey Anderson – LOSS
Jimi Manuwa – LOSS
Ilir Latifi – WIN
Israel Adesanya – WIN
Dominick Reyes – WIN
Corey Anderson – WIN
Ronaldo Souza – WIN
Luke Rockhold – WIN
Thiago Santos – LOSS
Nikita Krylov – WIN
Jimi Manuwa – WIN
Jared Cannonier – WIN
Devin Clark – WIN
‘I was with my dog walking in the forest and I found a hanged person,’ he told a UFC YouTube vlog series.
He said he called police to deal with what he found, who later asked him if he had taken the rope from the noose home with him for good luck.
‘I checked on the internet and people a long time ago believed in this – so I thought ‘why not try?” he said.
Initially Blachowicz said he would go back to the woods before fights to touch the rope.
More recently though he said he had a brightly-coloured bracelet made from the noose which he takes with him to fights.
‘I thought maybe someone will take my lucky rope so I cut a little bit and sent it to a guy,’ he said.
Blachowicz pictured next to where he found a man’s hanged body in 2017 – which he credits for his turnaround in career fortunes. The rope from the suicide is pictured circled in red.
The UFC fighter has had a brightly-coloured bracelet made from the noose which he takes with him to fights
The champion fighter has been unclear on when exactly he found the body in the woods.
His record though shows he lost four of five fights between April 2015 and April 2017 after making his UFC debut in October 2014.
Since then, he has maintained a 90 per cent win rate in a late-career surge that has seen him win two titles in seven months.
His form marks a remarkable turnaround for a fighter who almost four years ago was on the verge of getting cut from the UFC.
Blachowicz celebrates on Saturday. He has won nine out of 10 bouts in the competition dating back to October 2017
‘I thought he was going to get fired. Seriously,’ his fiance Dorota Jurkowska told ESPN in April 2017.
‘I was expecting that email to say he was gone. I was emailing [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard immediately. We had a lot of emails go back and forth that night. That was a very tough night.’
‘I pushed them so hard to give Jan one more chance.’