London, UK – It may not have happened in the way he wanted it to go, but UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes still moved one step closer to a title shot after UFC London on Saturday night.
Blaydes (17-3) took the TKO win after his opponent, Tom Aspinall, injured his knee 15 seconds into the first round. At the moment is happened everyone, including Blaydes, was unsure as to exactly what happened to Aspinall.
“I have no idea what happened. He landed the kick, I went to counter, he dropped. That’s all I know,” Blaydes told Cageside Press along with other media at his post-fight scrum.
In many instances when an injury ends a fight the winner has been open to a rematch once their injured opponent healed up. Blaydes was not open to such a fight.
“I’m not risking my ranking. I won the fight. Heading into this fight I envisioned the winner, which is me, the winner of this fight would be fighting the winner of (Tai) Tuivasa and (Cyril) Gane. So I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to fight those guys when it’s right there to wait for Aspinall to heal and run it back,” Blaydes said.
“I’m frustrated (with how the fight ended). No one wants to win like that. I got the win, I hold my ranking, I get the money, but without a highlight. Did it even happen? The fight even happen? It’s going to be in the news next week, am I going to get an interview? Am I going to gain 50 thousand Instagram followers? No,” Blaydes told reporters.
“So disappointed about all of that, but nothing we can do about it now.”
Even with the fight ending due to injury Blaydes isn’t worried about losing any momentum when it comes to his path to the title.
“As long as I knockout the next guy hype’s back. MMA is like that. You can win four fights in a row, lose the fight, everyone says you suck. You could lose three in a row, win one, and you’re the greatest in the world. Your last fight is the one that matters,” said Blaydes.
With Gane and Tuivasa set to fight at UFC Paris on Sept. 3rd it sets up quite a long wait for Blaydes to fight again if he’s set on that matchup. In his mind there is no other fight to take. Blaydes isn’t willing to take a fight just to “stay active”.
“No. Why would I do that? That doesn’t help me with the rankings at all. Staying active, you don’t have to stay active, you have to beat highly-ranked opponents. So I’m going to wait for the winner. I will not be taking #8, #7, #6 because it doesn’t help me. It helps them,” Blaydes explained.
“I’m not looking to hand out any handouts.”
As for who he expects to be the winner of the main event at UFC Paris?
“I think Gane, but it’s heavyweight. I wouldn’t put a dollar on that fight because anyone who says they know who’s going to win. You don’t, you’re a liar, it’s heavyweight. It takes on punch obviously. Cyril Gane is the more technical the more…he’s got the better footwork. He’s got the fancier combinations, but Tuivasa he’s in the top 5 for a reason. He hits hard he doesn’t need combinations. He needs one punch,” Blaydes said.
“So we’ll see.”
Watch the full UFC London post-fight press scrum with Curtis Blaydes above.