Curtis Blaydes: No Surprises
When Curtis Blaydes signed to fight MMA legend Mark Hunt at the beginning of this year, he admitted that he was a little surprised to get the call. Having come through the Hunt fight as victor, he now says that there will be no more surprises when it comes to future opponents.
‘Everyone from here on out is gonna be a legend’ he said, when speaking on future opponents. Having propelled himself to 4th in the UFC rankings and among the elite of the division, there are no more ‘building’ fights for Blaydes and he instead has his sights set upon the title.
The ever-progressing American answered some questions that needed to be addressed in his tussle with Hunt, as he was able to absorb shots from a top-level striker, overcome adversity and get the job done. ‘I knew I was tough already’ he said, but this will likely have sent out a message to future competitors who’s plan will be to try and avoid the takedowns and land enough powerful shots on the feet, as was clearly the strategy of Hunt. In terms of countering that strategy, Blaydes said ‘I was really proud of my footwork, you can put out as many jabs as you want, but if you aren’t moving your legs behind it then it doesn’t really matter’.
Blaydes will return to his hometown of Chicago for a fight for the first time in four years – quite the opposite of his last encounter in which he travelled half the world to face Hunt in Australia. This was the battleground that Curtis was hoping for, but as far as the fight itself goes, he’s convinced that it really doesn’t make much difference. ‘It’s just an octagon at the end of the day. Once you’re in there, the fans can’t help you, even if they want to and the fans can’t hurt you, even if they want to’ he said. He did add that ‘the boos were a little different’ but that he forgot about them as soon as he entered the cage.
Reflecting on the match-up with Alistair Overeem, Blaydes said he felt it was ‘the only possible match-up’ when looking at the other fighters that were scheduled around him. It’s another veteran vs. prospect tussle on paper, but it could almost be a bout to determine the number one contender. ‘The game plan is pretty much the same (as the Mark Hunt fight), use my boxing, movement, headwork and get the takedown’ he said.
When asked about a title shot, Blaydes was honest in saying that he had thought about it, but he had bigger things to deal with right now - ‘To be as close as I am, it’s inevitable to think about it, but it’s not my main focus. My main focus right now is to figure out how to take Alistair Overeem down’.
The bout takes place as part of a stacked line up at UFC225 and we’re already counting down the days to June 9th.