MMA History

Top 5 Polish Fighters of All Time

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The MMA market in Poland is certainly underappreciated and under utilised. Poland’s biggest promotion, KSW pulls huge numbers, puts on highly competitive events and consistently sells out huge arenas.
Some of the world’s best talent has come from Poland, including multiple world champions in the UFC as well as champions spread across KSW and they also have multiple talents coming through the relatively new ‘Oktagon MMA’.
We take a look at the top 5 fighters to come from Poland, reflecting on their careers to date and all of their achievements.

Top 5 Fighters from Poland

5 – Marcin Held

Marcin Held made his MMA debut back in 2008, progressing to 7-0 before tasting defeat. He made his name on the Polish regional scene before debuting for Bellator. Handed a huge task on his debut, Held lost via submission to Michael Chandler.
After a record of 11-1 in his next 12 fights, realising a Bellator title shot. Taking on Will Brooks, Marcin Held fell to a unanimous decision loss. He had a breif stint in the UFC, going 1-3.
He then bounced around smaller promtoions before making a big move to the PFL in 2021. He’s currently 2-2 with the promotion, however, won last time out in the promotions debut in London with a guillotine submission over Miles Price.

4 – Matesuz Gamrot

Arguably a late comer to the list and to the ‘big leagues’ is Mateusz Gamrot. He ammassed an amazing record of 16-0 before joining the UFC. With phenomenal grappling base, Gamrot began his UFC career with a lot of hype.
At 3-0, Gamrot joined KSW, eventually progressing to 12-0 (with one fight for CageWarriors), Gamrot realised a lightweight title shot against former UFC star, Norman Parke. Gamrot came away with the victory on this occassion via unanimous decision. The rematch was set, however, unfortauntely this one ended in a no-contest due to eye poke.
Gamrot simultaniously became the featherweight champion of the promotion when he defeated Kleber Joike Erbst at KSW 46.
He made his UFC debut in 2020 and despite it not going his way, Gamer has progressed to a record of 5-2 with the promotion and really cementing himself as a top contender at 155lbs.

3- Mamed Khalidov

Mamed Khalidov‘s nickname ‘Cannibal’ describes him down to a tee. He’s ruthless when he’s in the octagon and takes no prisoners. With a record of 36-8-2, he’s still fighting at 42 years old.

Arguably not as well known as others on this list due to never signing for one of the bigger promotions, Khalidov is a legend of Polish MMA, especially in the circles of KSW. Despite starting his MMA career 3-3, Khalidov went on a crazy run of form, progressing to 31-1-2, headlining multiple KSW events as well as capturing the KSW middleweight championship in 2016.

He would make just one defence of that title against Aziz Karaoglu. Khalidov would then feature in a number of catchweight bouts before clashing with Tomasz Narkun and Scott Askham in multiple fights. Although he would go 0-2 against Narkun and go on to lose in his first bout with Aksham, Khalidov defeateed Askham in their second bout to recapture the middleweight strap, only to lose it to Roberto Soldic in his next fight.

Khalidov would make his heavyweight debut against Mariusz Pudzianowski. This fight took place at KSW 77 and was the main event ahead of two title fights, proving just how big a star Khalidov is. He’s set for a trilogy with Askham at KSW 83, again in the main event.

2 – Jan Blachowicz

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The legendary ‘Polish Power’ of Jan Blachowicz has always been something to be admired. The former UFC light heavyweight champion shot to fame in KSW winning the 2007, 2008 and 2010 light heavyweight tournaments, finishing seven of nine fights on this run.

He won the KSW 205lbs strap at the second time of asking and made two defences of the belt before vactating it in favour of signing for the UFC. Blachowicz’s UFC tenure never quite got going until 2017 where he went on a run of 7-1 before realising a shot at the vacant belt.

He dominated fellow challenger, Dominck Reyes, securing the belt and becoming the first Polish male to win a UFC title. He then became the first person to hand Israel Adesanya a defeat in MMA when he defended his belt at UFC 259 against The Last Stylebender.

Although he would lose his belt to Glover Texiera, no one can deny just how big of a Polish star Jan Blachowicz is.

1 – Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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Who else could have been #1? Joanna Jedrzejczyk is The Queen, the former long-time strawweight champion and flyweight title challenger and legendary, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Making her mark in Muay Thai and kickboxing, Jedrzejczyk would make her MMA debut in 2012. She, unlike everyone else on this list, she didn’t feature for KSW, however, progressed to 6-0 before joining the UFC.

It would take just two fights for Dana White and the UFC to realise the potential of Jedrzejczyk, granting her a title shot against Carla Esparza. She would dominate Esparza to capture the belt and go on to make five defences. Although she would go on to lose the belt and be unable to capture it back, she had legendary rivalries with Claudia GadelhaRose Namajunas and Zhang Weili.

She would feature on eight PPV’s, including the promotions first event event in New York City at Madison Square Garden. She would headline three fight night events and put on arguably the best woman’s fight of all time at UFC 248 throughout her career. She was a dream for every sportsbook like from her home country, Poland.

Although she’s retired, she’s certainly left the door open for a return and could easily still hang with the best.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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