Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis are separated by just one spot in the official rankings. “Razor” clocks in at No. 3 while “The Black Beast” holds steady at No. 4. So why didn't UFC matchmakers pair them off for a mid-summer showdown?
Because Lewis would get destroyed.
“After I beat Junior, I knew it was going to be Volkov,” Blaydes told MMA Junkie. “I knew they weren’t going to give me Derrick Lewis. They don’t want him to lose, and they know if they gave him me, I would destroy him, so I knew he was off the table. I knew it had to be Volkov, so as soon as it was offered, I said yes.”
Blaydes (13-2, 1 NC) is coming off a technical knockout victory over former champion, Junior dos Santos, at UFC Fight Night 166 back in January. Lewis (23-7, 1 NC), meanwhile, last competed at UFC 247 in February, taking a split-decision win over Ilir Latifi.
This isn’t the first time “Razor” tried to cut into Lewis.
“Curtis Blaydes just playing fish right now,” Lewis told MMA Junkie back in 2018. “He wants me to say something back to him, and say, ‘OK, let me fight Curtis Blaydes next.’ Which, he’s behind me, instead of me saying, ‘OK, I want the title shot.’ That’s all he’s doing, just trying to play – he don’t want me to fight for the title next, he wants to get a shot at me before anyone does. That’s all it is, but fuck Curtis Blaydes.”
Blaydes will instead battle No. 7-ranked heavyweight Alexander Volkov in the UFC on ESPN 11 main event, which takes place this Sat. night (June 20, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. As for Lewis, he’s expected to collide with Alexey Oleinik in early August.
I have a feeling that Blaydes vs. Lewis is a matter of when, not if.