“If you don’t like it, you don’t gotta watch.” That’s all Curtis Blaydes has to say to critics of his wrestling heavy style.
Chances are, those critics will be watching this Saturday, when Blaydes (13-2, 1NC) faces off with Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC on ESPN 11. The fight will see #3 ranked heavyweight Blaydes looking to make it four wins in a row.
A win over the #7 ranked “Drago” — a former Bellator MMA heavyweight champion — would normally leave Blaydes sitting pretty in a generally thin heavyweight division. And the good news is, the weight class looks like it should be rolling again soon, with Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier finally booked.
However, there are complications. For one, Francis Ngannou, who has already defeated Blaydes twice, is generally thought to be the next contender.
For his part, Blaydes told Cageside Press at the UFC on ESPN 11 media day Thursday, he’s just happy that Miocic vs. DC 3 has been booked. “I’m just happy to know that they got it all signed up. The contracts are signed, and it’s going happen officially. It just gives me the ability to project my own trajectory into the future.”
Blaydes doesn’t have a favorite in that fight. “I don’t know. I mean, they’ve already fought twice and they’ve gone one and one so honestly, I don’t really care. I’ve heard that DC’s gonna retire win lose or draw, I’ve also heard reports that Steve has also been contemplating retirement.”
That retirement, however, could play a big role in what happens next for Blaydes, he acknowledged later. “I guess it depends on what happens with Stipe. If he decides to retire, then it’ll be a vacant belt and most likely Ngannou versus me for that vacant belt. If if he decides to not retire, then it’ll be Ngannou versus Stipe. I’ll just wait my turn.”
After losing twice to “The Predator,” however, just what would be different in a third fight?
“I see myself winning,” replied Blaydes. “I see myself taking them down like I did in our first fight and this time landing heavy ground and pound.”
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 11 media day scrum with Curtis Blaydes above.