It wasn’t that long ago when Curtis Blaydes was getting booked for fights and clueless mixed martial arts (MMA) fans like myself responded with “WHO DAT?” Then came dominant wins over Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem and suddenly “Razor” has sliced his way into the top five of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight division.
That puts him in line to fight the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier, who collide in next month’s UFC 226 pay-per-view (PPV) main event (more on that here). Blaydes expects “DC” to get stopped late in the fight, paving the way for an end-of-year showdown.
“I know that ‘DC’ is a good wrestler, but Stipe is a pretty good wrestler himself,” Blaydes told BJPenn.com. “I think he’s got a lot more advantages. I think he gets the finish — but probably into the fourth round, maybe fifth.”
At the same time, Blaydes is preparing himself to face either opponent.
“They’re both challenges, and I don’t think either one of them is easier or harder than the other,” he said. “They both have pretty good stand up, they’re pretty good wrestlers. [My] only advantage would be I have a weight advantage over them, and probably a reach advantage also. I was thinking about New Years Eve, in Vegas. I think I deserve to be the champion.”
He certainly looked like one in this fight.
Blaydes (10-1, 1 NC) dropped his UFC debut in Zagreb back in early 2016 when former division title contender, Francis Ngannou, forced a doctor’s stoppage after closing up the former collegiate wrestler’s right eye (read it).
Outside of his marijuana hijinks at UFC Fight Night 104, which saw his win go up in smoke (tee hee), the 27 year-old Blaydes has been flawless inside the cage, racking up five wins with three violent finishes.