While Curtis Blaydes may have earned a W in the cage on Saturday night at UFC on ESPN 11, he certainly didn’t impress his boss Dana White with the way he fought.
Blaydes dominated Alexander Volkov on the ground early in the fight before cardio issues set in halfway through the third. He still managed to hold onto the fight and secure a decision win with 49-46, 48-47 and 48-46 scores (watch the highlights), but White made it clear it wasn’t the kind of performance that earns you a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.
At least not with Francis Ngannou waiting in the same line.
“First of all, his two losses are to Francis,” White said at the post-event press conference. “How do you give him the title fight over Francis? But yeah, he would be considered next in line. With his performance tonight and his cardio, I wouldn’t wait around if I was him. I’d stay active. I’d stay busy.”
“I like Curtis Blaydes, but Curtis Blaydes has the wrong attitude, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have anything against the kid at all, but when you talk s**t like he talked this week, you better come in and whoop somebody’s ass when you talk s**t like that.”
“When you talk the s**t that he talked and perform like you performed tonight, you look stupid.”
“Yeah, he won,” White concluded begrudgingly. “He talked a lot of s**t coming in this week. I don’t think you talk the s**t he talked this week and come in and perform like that. Talking about rag-dolling people, and he’s not getting paid, and yada yada, saying he should be getting the title shot. He gassed out at the end of the third round, made it to the fifth and won the fight. Yes, he won.”
Blaydes wasn’t too happy to hear his win get talked down like that but gave a measured response to White’s demand he ‘stay busy.’
“Stay busy against who?” Blaydes asked when it was his turn at the podium for the post-fight presser. “I’ve fought Justin Willis, ranked below me,” Blaydes said. “I’ve fought Abdurakhimov, ranked below me, I’ve fought Junior Dos Santos, ranked below me. I’ve fought Volkov, ranked below me. Like what? No. I don’t know, man. This is probably not the best time for me to answer that question, so I’m just going to leave that alone.”