Curtis Blaydes has no doubt that if the UFC is going to crown an interim heavyweight champion in Francis Ngannou’s absence that he should be at least one-half of that fight.
Blaydes praised his victory and referred to ex-champion Stipe Milocic, Ciryl Gane, as the most probable opposition. However, if he is to receive an interim belt for promotion purposes, he will not be able to talk about anything.
One-time UFC title challenger Anthony Smith agrees, especially after watching Blaydes lay waste to Chris Daukaus by second-round knockout at UFC Columbus, which extended his win streak to two in a row with a 6-1 record overall in his past seven fights.
“Curtis Blaydes is the one-half of [an interim title fight],” Smith’s comments on The Fighter. The Writer . “No. 1, out of anybody that we’re talking about, Curtis Blaydes is the only one coming off a win. Stipe’s coming off a loss and Ciryl Gane’s coming off a loss. Curtis against one of these guys has to win.
” I don’t think it’s Stipe, or that they tried to make that fight. Especially since Ciryl just lost to Francis, and Ciryl won’t fight again if Francis wins, then Francis will come back, and then we have to fight that again. No other fighter stands out to my mind
Miocic is the longest reigning UFC heavyweight champion in history and he had hoped for an immediate rematch with Ngannou after falling to him by knockout in their most recent encounter in March 2021. Miocic defeated Ngannou by a clear decision in their first encounter. This is why it felt to the Ohio native that a trio between the two made sense.
Ultimately, the UFC opted to matchup Ngannou with Gane instead and Miocic has been sitting on the outside looking in while awaiting word on his next fight.
Of course the other potential hurdle to Blaydes’ title aspirations could be Jon Jones’ arrival at heavyweight as he continues to tease his move to the division after relinquishing his 205-pound title all the way back in 2020.
On Tuesday, Jones was once again talking about his plans to fight at heavyweight as he looks to become a two-division champion when he finally returns.
” I’ve been dreaming about it for more than two years, and I believe that winning the heavyweight title is my destiny,” Jones posted on Twitter. “It’s already been written.
” I just have to stick my nose in it for the moment and continue working. Everything else will come later .”
I’ve been imagining it for over two years now, I genuinely believe winning this heavyweight championship is in my destiny. It’s already been written. It’s all I have to do is keep my head in the dirt and work hard. Everything else will fall into place. https://t.co/9V41HVzpTy
— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 29, 2022
As much as that makes it sound like Jones will be fighting sooner rather than later, Smith just can’t put him into the interim title conversation right now.
” Until Jon signs an agreement with someone, I’m only imagining that he’s out of the equation,” Smith stated. Because you cannot talk about “what if” and Jon is big?
” I think the best scenario is that everyone pulls Jon out and lets just stop talking about Jon until he makes a decision. Jon Jones is out of the picture.”
February marked two years since Jones last saw action in the UFC so it’s difficult to argue with Smith’s logic when it comes to the current landscape at heavyweight. Jones is also currently in negotiations with UFC regarding his next fight. He was arguing over his salary two years back when Ngannou’s matchup was suggested.
Blaydes knows that he has been waiting his turn to get UFC gold, and it’s clear that a fight with Miocic is what makes sense.
“I think that is the fight to make,” Smith stated.
As of now, the UFC hasn’t made any announcement regarding the future of the heavyweight division with Ngannou recovering from knee surgery until 2023, although Dana White has said that it’s likely an interim title will be introduced in the near future.