The year 2018 has not been kind to Francis Ngannou. Though the hulking Cameroonian-French heavyweight began the year as perhaps the UFC’s most hyped fighter, he was then dominated in his anticipated title fight with Stipe Miocic, and defeated by Derrick Lewis in one of the most disappointing fights ever. After this tough run in 2018, Ngannou’s next opponent Curtis Blaydes isn’t sure what to expect when they meet in the main event of UFC Beijing on November 24.
“He’s probably in a hole right now,” Curtis Blaydes said during a recent media scrum (via MMAjunkie). “0-2 after being the hotshot? That’s got to be a dark, dark place. I want him to be his best. I don’t want any excuses out of his camp or the fans or the company. I want him at his best. I’ll beat him 10 out of 10 times.”
When Blaydes and Ngannou step into the cage in Beijing, it will be a rematch of 2016 fight, which Ngannou won by doctor stoppage. While Blaydes considers this a legitimate loss, he says it’s not the kind of setback that keeps him up at night.
“I wouldn’t say it kept me up at night, but I knew [the rematch] would happen eventually,” Blaydes said. “It was inevitable. I knew he’d be around, I’d be around. The UFC likes natural stories like this. We already have a natural storyline. It’s not fake. We had a fight, he won, but I didn’t get to finish it. So I do have a bit of redemption I want to get.”
“It is a loss,” Blaydes added. “On my record it’s a loss, but any loss that you don’t lose any sleep over is that one. It wasn’t the referee’s decision, it wasn’t the judge’s decision, it was the doctor.”
Who do you think will come out on top when Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou go to war at UFC Beijing?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/13/2018.