UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jiří Procházka has revealed the inspiration behind his decision to follow the lifestyle and mindset of a samurai.
In just two years, Procházka has gone from UFC debutant to a titleholder on MMA’s biggest stage. The Czech star accomplished this by plowing through Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes to secure a title shot, before snatching the gold from Glover Teixeira with a last-gasp submission at UFC 275.
But while he’s known as a brutal knockout artist and wild fighter inside the cage, outside of it, Procházka is an example of a respectful and traditional martial artist who bases his values on the Bushidō code.
With a personality and background that is unlike any previous UFC champion — other than perhaps Georges St-Pierre, who’s also previously claimed to a follow a samurai mindset — Procházka has grabbed the attention of fans and pundits alike with his unique character.
And the man himself has now further lifted the lid on his way of life, revealing the impact one particular legendary swordsman had on shaping his values and ethics.
Procházka: “The Most Important Person In My Life Is Miyamoto Musashi”
During a recent interview with GiveMeSport, Procházka discussed his unique attitude outside the Octagon, crediting one particular Japanese swordsman and philosopher for his dedicated following of the warrior code.
“I don’t know a lot of samurai, just a few warriors, true warriors,” Procházka. “But I think the most important person in my life is Miyamoto Musashi because of his book and his life. For me, he was so inspirational.
“That’s why everybody is talking about me watching all the samurai movies and all this stuff. But it’s not like that. It’s not like that, it’s nothing more than I read the book, and I started to include these rules in my life. Because I know it’s functional, it’s simple, and it’s powerful,” Procházka added. “And that’s the paradox because the simplest things are the strongest.”
Musashi became renowned through tales of his double-bladed swordsmanship and undefeated record in his 61 duels. Shortly before his death in 1645, Musashi wrote The Book of Five Rings, which shares the teachings that Musashi put forth to his own students inside the dojo.
Procházka will look to continue applying the lessons he’s learned from Musashi as his title reign gets underway. While it appeared that he was targeting an all-European clash with Jan Blachowicz next, he recently made somewhat of a U-turn, naming a rematch with Teixeira as his desired opening defense.
Given how the pair’s UFC 275 headliner played out, “Denisa” will need every ounce of his warrior strength should he collide with the Brazilian again.
Do you admire Jiří Procházka’s dedication to the warrior code?