Curtis Blaydes is breathing down the neck of the top of the heavyweight division.
“Razor” needed a little more than a round to land a booming right hand that dropped Chris Daukaus (12-5) and left Daukaus defenseless to stop the ensuing ground punches that ended the UFC Columbus main event in definitive fashion.
It was the second straight win for Blaydes (16-3, 1 NC), the No. 5 heavyweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, and he didn’t mince words in his post-fight interview when asked what should be next for him.
“I believe I am worthy of an interim title against [Ciryl] Gane,” Blaydes stated. “I want next. “I want to be the first. It’s possible to do this anytime during the summer. June, July, August, I’m down.”
An interim heavyweight championship belt is expected to be created in the absence of undisputed titleholder Francis Ngannou, who is currently embroiled in a contract dispute with the UFC and unlikely to compete in 2021 after recently undergoing knee surgery.
Two-time UFC champion Stipe Miocic was in attendance at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio and when his presence was pointed out to Blaydes by UFC commentator Daniel Cormier, Blaydes directed a respectful callout at Miocic.
” I want to be like you Stipe. That means that I might have to beat your, but I still respect you.” Blaydes stated. “You’re one of the best in the world, one of the best all-time in the division. I respect the hell out of you.”
Despite not fighting in more than a year, Miocic is still in contention for an interim title bout with Gane or former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
After his win,
Blaydes makes a compelling case for inclusion in that conversation. Blaydes showed off his better striking in round one. He outworked Daukaus using sharp striking and did not show any hint of the grappling that made him a contender for heavyweight (Blaydes stated in his post-fight interview, that the threat to a takedown had given him an edge in the standup).
The first five minutes gave a glimpse of the future when Blaydes struck a perfect timing right hand against an approaching Daukaus, sending him plunging to the ground. Blaydes continued with vicious punches to the ground, prompting Herb Dean, referee to intervene.
The official time of the stoppage was 0:17 into Round 2.
Blaydes won his last seven fights, and has now won 2 straight. He is 11-3 (1 NC) in the UFC with two of those losses coming at the hands of Ngannou.
Daukaus drops back in knockout fights after starting his UFC career by winning four consecutive knockouts.