Curtis Blaydes wants to become UFC heavyweight champion and he doesn’t care who he has to go through to get it.
Fresh fought Chris Daukaus to a second round knockout in UFC Columbus’ main event. The 31-year old contender called it quits with the hope that he would be able to fight for an interim title against Ciryl Gane, or Stipe Miocic. Blaydes doesn’t care about who he fights, but the potential reward for either of them.
“I view them as the same opportunity,” Blaydes said at the post-fight press conference. A win over Gane who was hot and was in a title bout, should make me the next title contender. Same thing with Stipe.
“He is the GOAT in my view. He’s the GOAT of this heavyweight division. Although he deserved [championship] a rematch, if he is willing to take on me and defeat me, then that would be the next thing for me. After beating Gane and Stipe .”
, it’s my next goal.
While he may have no stated preference, Blaydes admits that a win over Miocic would mean more to his career just because of the long list of accolades that the Cleveland native has achieved.
Miocic is widely considered the best heavyweight in UFC history as a two-time champion and more title defenses than anybody else to ever hold the belt before or after him.
” I believe that he is the GOAT,” Blaydes stated about Miocic. “So a win over him — that’s the one difference — beating Stipe or Gane equals a title shot but beating Stipe I think weighs more heavily historically.
“Cause everyone knows what Stipe has done. They all know the details of his past. That’s all there is to it. Having him on the resume, that would be huge.”
Blaydes has actually had experience with Miocic back when he went to Ohio to prepare him for his fight against Gabriel Gonzaga. Blaydes, who was four months away to making his professional debut, was still an amateur fighter. This was very useful for Miocic.
” I don’t have any amazing sparring stories,” Blaydes smiled. He was levels higher than me
Eight years on, Blaydes is still at the top of heavyweight and would love to challenge Miocic even though there are no animosities between them.
“I respect him but I believe I’m on his level,” Blaydes said. He can be taken down. He is a good guy. I have taken him down. But I believe that if we enter into a fighting battle I will be able to strike with him. I’ve got the footwork. I’ve got the acumen. I believe in my coaches and I know I can hang with anybody on the feet.”
Miocic isn’t fighting since losing the heavyweight title back to Ngannou in March 2021. He was originally hoping for an auto-rematch, but it didn’t.
With almost exactly one year since his last appearance Miocic is still on the sidelines, but Blaydes would love for him to return.
Ultimately whether it’s Miocic, Gane or somebody else, Blaydes just wants to be the other half of an interim title fight, although he understands his desire may not match what the UFC actually decides to do with the division.
“I feel that way but that does not mean the world feels that way,” Blaydes said. That’s what really matters. What do the fans want to see? I do believe I deserve an interim title shot. Yes, I believe that I have the skills and the resume. But .”
will be the judge.
Perhaps the greatest attribute that Blaydes has right now is patience because there’s just so much uncertainty lurking at heavyweight with Ngannou out of action and both Miocic and Gane coming off losses.
That said, Blaydes is more than willing to wait for the right opponent and the best possible opportunity because he’s got all the time in the world right now.
“I don’t need to rush,” Blaydes stated. “I’m not broke and I want what I want. I don’t want to fight guys just to fight guys. To get the belt, I don’t care if it is a guy or a girl. I just want to be able to fight the best guys. There is a route I know. The fastest person I can believe will get me there is Gane, but I could be wrong. Stipe? I will take it.
” I have no doubts [I’ll be champion]. That’s why I’ve never been in a rush. I knew I’d get there. I’m only 31. I’m going to be here. I’ve got eight more years. “I’m here.” That belt is going to be mine.”