Feb. 11th, 2018, up-and-coming Heavyweight prospect, Curtis Blaydes would not only beat Mark Hunt, a legend in the sport of MMA, but obtain two 30-26 scores from the judges in a dominant decision victory. Now 4-0(1) in his last five outings, Blaydes is looking towards the top of the division, and says he can beat any of the elite athletes within the HW division.
We reached out to Blaydes following his victory in Parth, Australia, and it seems as though he’s ready for an even bigger challenge moving forward.
Regarding his co-main event bout against Mark Hunt, and potential match up against Derrick Lewis, Blaydes said:
“I feel like i carried out the game-plan as effectively as possible and came out with a clean W. I see myself coming out victorious against any of the elite level heavyweights in this division including Derrick Lewis.”
The Chicago native, Blaydes has found struggle in gaining recognition while climbing the HW ranks, and still feels there’s some missing following his win on Feb. 11th. We asked Curtis if he felt he earned some much deserved respect from the fans after such a dominant performance, and while a yes, there will still some missing:
“I think yes and no…I feel like the real MMA fans, the ones who can appreciate all facets of mixed martial arts have given me their respect, but the lesser casual fans, the ones who only watch to see slug fest don’t see wrestling as a necessary skill set, and don’t appreciate its effectiveness against proven veteran striker alas Mark Hunt.”
Stipe Miocic is now a record breaking/setting HW champion, defying all odds, there’s much to be said about the champion. Miocic is now scheduled to fight LHW champion, Daniel Cormier, with the HW title on the line. Curtis Blaydes predicts the title is staying in the hands of Stipe:
“I think Stipe is already the greatest heavyweight champion to date in the UFC, Strikeforce, or any other noted fight promotion. To defend the belt 3 times shows how well he can adopt to different usurpers. How he beat Francis (Ngannou) was textbook, but easier said than done ,and his eye was close to being shut as mine was, although in a 5 round fight as opposed to my 2 rounds. I see Stipe adapting again to defend Cormiers world class wrestling and basically flipping his previous gameplan versus Ngannou. I see him winning a tough 5 round clinch war against a very game and motivated DC.”
BellatorMMA, competitor with UFC, is now holding a year-long Heavyweight tournament, featuring former PRIDE, former UFC, and homegrown talent. While the winner will be a highly ranked and spoken about, Matt Mitrione, who is competing in the tournament said no matter the winner, Miocic will still be the number one Heavyweight in the world. Blaydes respectfully agreed:
“I think the Bellator tournament is filled with veteran former UFC title contenders, and they’ve put on some really entertaining fights. I agree with (Matt) Mitrione wholeheartedly, that statement would hold true for most if not all of the champ vs champ match ups.”
After mentioning Francis Ngannou, a man Blaydes lost to back in 2016, it was only right we got his thoughts on a potential rematch with the world record holding heavy hitter:
“Of course a rematches is something on my to-do list but i won’t chase or force it, we are so close in rank and we have a natural storyline i know it’ll happen organically as long as i take care of business in my next bout. And he’s not scary, we are all lions us fighters in the UFC…lions don’t fear another lion.”
Curtis Blaydes currently has no up-and-coming fight scheduled, but plans on continuing his growth as a fighter in preparation for the next stepping stone in his career.
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(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)