Jiri Prochazka says his battle preparation consists of hitting a tree 500 times a day

Jiri Prochazka is expected to be the next contender for the light heavyweight title, and it took him 16 months to get there.

Watch how quickly he melts opponents in the octagon, and it’s not hard to see why.

The basis for that strength lies not only in the body mechanics. It’s not just about timing and placement. For the 29-year-old Czech, it’s a mindset rooted in the bushido code that extends to everything in his life, including the goals he practices.

The one who warms Prochazka every day, he recently said about The MMA hour, is a tree. He showed that a bit in a recent Instagram video, hacking away a briefcase lightly padded to suggest that he would end up being the loser wearing four-ounce UFC gloves.

But according to Prochazka, this is part of a winning strategy that makes his punches hit a little differently.

“It’s good for the body to be in the art to be like a rock,” he explained. “Then I can use my technique through the opponent’s body and my technique can be more dangerous. It’s a good workout for the body.”

Watch Prochazka’s training video, which he released in the weeks leading up to his job as a backup fighter for a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira. When he’s done with the tree, he moves on to the heavy bag.

“After about 500 punches, I go to the sack, and the sack is very easy, believe me,” he said.

New Brazilian champion Teixeira now holds the title that Prochazka promises to capture in a short time. Of course, Prochazka hopes Teixeira won’t wait too long after the strange experience of preparing for a title fight that may or may not have arrived. Either way, he’ll keep training and uninterrupted chopping that tree to condition his fists.

“No break,” he said. “That’s how my training should be, because if you want to show something crazy, something new, that’s how you have to train.”

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