Curtis Blaydes is scheduled to return to the Octagon in the main event of UFC Raleigh, where he’ll take on former UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos. If Blaydes wins this fight, he’ll be well positioned for a title shot opposite the winner of a yet unscheduled heavyweight title fight between reigning champion Stipe Miocic and former champion Daniel Cormier.
Given his position in the heavyweight rankings, Blaydes will be watching this Miocic vs. Cormier fight — which will mark the pair’s third meeting — very closely. And when the cage door closes, he expects the reigning champion Miocic to come out on top.
“I’ll go with Stipe [to win] again,” Blaydes told MMA Fighting when asked for a prediction for this Miocic vs. Cormier trilogy fight. “Especially after both got a win under their belts, if they do fight again, the rounds are going to be a lot more explosive. They’ve both seen what the other one has and they won’t be as tentative. I still think Stipe’s the better striker and he definitely has the reach advantage.
“It all depends if DC goes in there with the mindset just to wrestle, he could probably win, but I think he has an ego. He wants to strike with Stipe and that will be his downfall. I would definitely love to see that happen [with me against Stipe] but right now I’m focused on JDS and we’ll go from there.”
Curtis Blaydes is currently riding back-to-back victories over Justin Willis and Shamil Abdurakhimov — a decision and a TKO respectively. Prior to this streak, he was knocked out by Francis Ngannou — one of the few heavyweights with more claim to a title shot than he has.
Do you agree with Blaydes’ prediction for the upcoming Miocic vs. Cormier trilogy fight? Do you think he beats dos Santos?
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/3/2019.