Michal Oleksiejczuk is proud to be fighting on the same UFC 267 event as countrymen Jan Blachowicz and Marcin Tybura, a card that some in Poland are calling “The Polish card.” That’s not surprising, because Blachowicz’s journey to the title is one that Oleksiejczuk and many others draw motivation from.
“We are from the same country, so I am on his side,” Oleksiejczuk told UFC.com. “His way to the UFC title is a good example of never giving up and that the day can come. He is a good example for other fighters that you can be a champion after a few losses.”
Oleksiejczuk knows what it feels like to suffer losses and bounce back from them. The 26-year-old had a no contest in his UFC debut and followed it up with back-to-back wins before suffering two straight losses. The light heavyweight rebounded from the defeats with a split decision victory over Modestas Bukauskas at UFC 260 in March. Oleksiejczuk believed that was the time to show why he belonged in the UFC, and he did exactly that.
It has been over seven months since fans last saw Oleksiejczuk inside the Octagon and he has been able to make improvements on his fight game since then.
“It was a half year break, so I had a lot of time, so I did improve a lot,” Oleksiejczuk said. “I’m a better striker, I’m a better wrestler, better grappler, much stronger and I feel like I’m a better fighter all-around this time.
“I had very good preparation in a good way, and I want to show my new abilities and new skills and all of the new improvements on Saturday.”
Those new improvements will come in handy against his opponent, Shamil Gamzatov, who holds a perfect 14-0 record. This weekend’s fight at UFC 267 will only be his second walk to the Octagon, compared to Oleksiejczuk’s seventh. However, that isn’t what Oleksiejczuk is focused on.
“Experience is obviously an important thing, but it is not making a big difference,” Oleksiejczuk said. “I’m looking at him not as an unexperienced fighter, but I’m looking at him as an undefeated fighter, so I’m expecting a really tough test for me on Saturday.”
Ten of Oleksiejczuk’s 15 victories have come by knockout and that strategy is no different heading into his bout this weekend. This matchup will be a good test to see where “Hussar” stands in the division after having a bag of mixed results.
Oleksiejczuk is excited to be able to go against Gamzatov.
“I find him as a very good fighter,” Oleksiejczuk said. “He is well-rounded, he has good takedowns, he can punch, he can fight different ways. I find him as a big challenge and I’m very happy that UFC is giving me a challenge, so I am very happy to prove myself.”
There’s no doubt that this is going to be an exciting fight to watch.
“I like to fight in a flashy way,” Oleksiejczuk said. “I’m looking for knockouts, I’m punching people. I’m not a hugger, I’m not holding people. I’m not taking people down, just doing the tactical stuff. I’m here to win in an exciting way and I’ll show it once again.
“I will keep it standing. My best weapon is my boxing. I really believe in my boxing, so that will be my way to win.”
The ups and downs that he has faced throughout his UFC career aren’t going to stop Oleksiejczuk from going for the belt. The main event of UFC 267 is prime example of why you should never give up.
“I’ve never given up. I have very big determination to be a champion one day in the UFC, so I have to be at the next level,” Oleksiejczuk said. “I’m going to intimidate him with my pressure. It will be 15 minutes of me coming forward and giving him huge pressure. It will be tough for him, so I will win like I won the last fight. I will win this time.”
Don’t miss the ESPN+ special presentation of UFC 267: Blachowicz vs Teixeira on Saturday October 30th, 2021. Please note special broadcast times — prelims begin at 10:30am ET/7:30am PT, with the two-title fight main card starting at 2pm ET/11am PT.