UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes just pulled off the biggest win of his career.
Good thing, because it’s getting close to contract renegotiation.
In an interview prior to his win over Mark Hunt (13-12-1 MMA, 8-6-1 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 221 pay-per-view co-headliner, Blaydes (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) told MMAjunkie his high-profile fight was one of two remaining bouts with the UFC.
For his next contract, Blaydes requires a bump.
“If the UFC allows me to get to that fourth fight without a decent offer … I’ll listen to Bellator,” he said.
The UFC’s major competitor has the big men in the spotlight with this year’s Bellator heavyweight grand prix. But that’s not the reason Blaydes might be interested in jumping ship.
“They’ve been offering guys fat, fat contracts, and those heavyweights aren’t nearly as good as the ones in the UFC,” he said. “So the enticement is there – lesser competition for more money.”
Blaydes, who entered UFC 221 as the No. 14 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, didn’t disclose the purse he was set to earn for the UFC 221 co-headliner, which took place at Perth Arena in Australia. He did, however, say the raise wasn’t as big a bump as from his previous bout, a controversial TKO win over Oleksiy Oliynyk at UFC 217. His most recent public payout was $38,000 for a win over Daniel Omielanczuk at UFC 213.
Of course, for what Blaydes may have lacked in earnings, he made back in stature. There was no doubt a win over a major Australian MMA star on a PPV card was big for his career.
But any attention he got for grinding out Hunt, it was all a means to an end.
“I don’t care if no one ever learns my name, as long as my bank account is full,” he said. “Because I’m not getting hit in the face just because I like it.
“I know there are guys who enjoy getting hit in the face. They enjoy the rush. They enjoy the adrenaline. I don’t. I don’t like getting hit in the face. It pisses me off. I’m only doing it because we’re getting paid. If we weren’t getting paid, I wouldn’t do this.
“I’m not one of those guys like, ‘If we were two guys in the backyard, I would still throw down.’ I would not. I’m in it for the money. I don’t feel bad about that at all.”
Blaydes is resigned to the fact that he must beat marquee opponents to make a bigger purse, largely because he isn’t the kind of fighter to trash-talk outside the cage. It’s become very clear to him what the UFC values in heavyweights, and unfortunately, many of those traits don’t apply to him.
Blaydes cites Francis Ngannou as an example of the priorities at play when it comes to building stars.
“He’s French, so he’s got foreign appeal,” he said. “And he’s got big muscles, so he looks good. It’s not hard to figure out how he got the hype train behind him. He does well. He has an exciting style.
“I get why he got the hype train, and I get why I’m not getting the hype train. I don’t have the eight-pack. I don’t look to stand and bang with my chin high and my hands below my waist. And I’m an American – and there are over 100-plus Americans in the UFC.
“I wish I was getting the money he’s getting, but I don’t like to count other people’s pockets, or look in their wallets. It’s his money – he deserves it. I’m sure once I show the UFC I deserve it, I’ll get my due money too. I’m only 26.”
With more time to build his name, Blaydes isn’t in a rush to be the next PPV headliner. He said the purse he made on Saturday is pretty good. It’s just that he wants his earnings trending up more steeply.
“Most guys my age aren’t making half what I’m making, so I’m fine with that,” he said. “For now.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: On last fight of contract, Curtis Blaydes wants 'decent offer,' will entertain Bellator