Don’t look now, but Curtis Blaydes is primed to become a top contender in the UFC heavyweight division in a year’s time.
The UFC heavyweight champion has typically been viewed as the baddest man on the planet, and Stipe Miocic certainly fits the bill.
But the UFC’s heavyweight division as a whole isn’t the murders row of fighters that the lightweight division is. Sure, you have Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum ranked number one and two respectively, but after those two, is there another true contender?
Of course, there is the fourth-ranked fighter Francis Ngannou; most people are in the belief that Ngannou is the future of the big men.
“The Predator” could very well be the next big thing. Literally. But he must first get past the aforementioned Overeem at UFC 218.
The dark horse of the heavyweight division, though, is Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes.
Cageside Press recently had the chance to speak with the 26-year-old Chicago native about his most recent fight, where his career is going, and the state of the heavyweights.
Blaydes is usually a mild-mannered fighter, but he acted out of character at the end of his most recent fight against Alexey Oliynyk. In case your memory escapes you, Blaydes threw a kick that grazed his downed opponent’s head. After much debate, Blaydes was given the win. “There was just so much confusion,” Blaydes said regarding the closing sequence of the fight.
“I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, I didn’t know if I had been disqualified or if I won. I knew I threw the kick, but I had no idea whether or not it hit him [Oliynyk]”
“Two years. That’s how long I need until I become the heavyweight champ.”
It seems like so many people have already anointed Francis Ngannou the next big thing, so what does Blaydes think about his former adversary?
“I like Francis,” said Blaydes. “But I’ve been in there with him before and its nothing I can’t handle, so if we meet again, so be it.”
At 26-years-old, Blaydes still has plenty of time to come into his own, but don’t tell him that.
“Two years,” Blaydes said. “That’s how long I need until I become the heavyweight champ.”
Speaking with Curtis Blaydes one thing jumps right out at you, that is, how nice of a person he is. Even when pressed, he had nothing bad to say about anyone.
It was surprising, however, when he offered up two names for his next opponent.
“I would like to fight either Alexander Volkov or Derrick Lewis,” Blaydes said.
Perhaps the big man has a career in matchmaking after he hangs ’em up because those are two great matchups.
As 2017 draws to an end and 2018 takes shape, the heavyweight division is going to be a must watch in the new year. Remember you heard it here first, the 2018 heavyweight contender to watch is Curtis Blaydes.