Curtis Blaydes is arguably the top contender in the UFC heavyweight division. Unfortunately for him, it looks like the next shot at reigning heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier will go to former champion Brock Lesnar.
Blaydes has previously shared his disappointment with Lesnar’s cutting the contendership line. That being said, he’s starting to get used to this sort of treatment.
In his eyes, the UFC simply doesn’t want him to be a champion. Blaydes feels that, even if Lesnar wasn’t a part of the picture in the year 2018, the promotion might well have awarded the next shot to somebody else instead of him.
“I’m willing to wait, because I have this feeling that the UFC – they don’t really want me to have the belt,” Blaydes told MMAjunkie. “Because I don’t have the most exciting – my style isn’t the most fan-friendly.”
“So I feel they would take every opportunity to not give me a title shot because they know my wrestling is the x-factor,” he added. “If I have to, I will just take a guy down and ground and pound him for three rounds. Which, they’re right, is not the most exciting version of fighting. But it is the most effective, especially going against the heavyweights I have to go against.”
If Lesnar does get the next shot, Blaydes said he could be convinced to take another contender bout in the meantime. That said, he still feels like the UFC will do whatever possible to keep him from winning the title.
“Me taking another opponent and me winning, I don’t think they would even care about that,” he said. “I feel like even if I called out Stipe [Miocic] and I won, they would probably give it to Cain Velasquez or, who knows, maybe even Jon Jones or maybe Junior Dos Santos.There’s so many other guys that I know the UFC would rather have as champion of the heavyweights.”
While Curtis Blaydes understands this his wrestling-based fighting style isn’t the kind of thing that leaves fans on the edges of their seats, he’s not going to be changing his style. He does what it takes to win, and he’s not going to risk losing — and developing brain injuries — by standing and banging with other heavyweights.
“I’m always going to do what I do best,” Blaydes said. “If the UFC doesn’t like it, or if the fans don’t like it, I guess the only option is for them to release me. Because I’m going to keep doing what I have to do to win. I’m not going to risk brain injuries to put on a show for people I don’t know.”
“I feel like what happened to [featherweight champion] Max Holloway is what happens when you like to stand and bang,” he said. “He had to pull out of UFC 226 due to concussion-like symptoms. I just feel like people don’t want to address it, but I’ve had this discussion with my coaches, with my roommates, other fighters. I think that’s a direct result of all the wars he’s had, all the heavy hits he’s eaten.”
Do you think Curtis Blaydes will eventually become the UFC heavyweight champion?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/20/2018.