Curtis Blaydes fought in enemy territory at UFC 221. Now he wants the chance to flip the script.
Blaydes (9-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) defeated Mark Hunt (13-12-1 MMA, 8-6-1 UFC) on his home turf with a unanimous-decision win in Saturday’s heavyweight co-headliner at Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. The bout aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
The victory marked Blaydes’ breakthrough moment in terms of joining the conversation of future heavyweight title contenders. He said a top-ranked opponent in the weight class should be next – ideally at UFC 225 on June 9, which takes place in his backyard at United Center in Chicago.
“(I want) anyone in the top-five,” Blaydes told reporters at UFC 221’s post-fight news conference. “Cain (Velasquez), Alistair (Overeem), (Fabricio) Werdum. I won’t call anyone out – I haven’t earned that right. But I do want to get on that Chicago card. I feel like that’s what I want to ask for. I want to feel this. I want my fans screaming my name, booing my opponent.”
Blaydes managed to overcome some early adversity in the fight with Hunt. “The Super Samoan” landed some of his trademark power-punches and put Blaydes on wobbly legs. He managed to keep his composure, though, and implement a wrestling-heavy game plan for the clear-cut win.
“When he landed those heavy strikes he definitely rocked me,” Blaydes said. “My vision went black for like two seconds and then I knew, I heard my cornerman screaming, ‘Takedown!’ I knew I should get the takedown. That’s why he was able to get up so quickly. I wasn’t really in it. I got the takedown, and it gave me a bit of time to recovery. Then I figured out the range and knew where I had to be. From there I knew I had to continue to take him down. I was able to gas him out and get the ‘W.’”
Although Blaydes made a request for the type of opponent he’d like to fight next, he also admitted he will take any fight offered. He said the performance against Hunt should get him some overdue respect, though, and that includes a spot in the newly released “EA UFC 3” video game.
“I hope I start getting the respect I deserve,” Blaydes. “I hope I get in the UFC video game. That feels like a big bummer. Like, how am I not in the game? Two of the guys I just beat. Mark Hunt and Aleksei Oleinik are both in the game and I’m not, so I feel like that’s a bit disrespectful. Hopefully that gets remedied.”
- UFC 221 video highlights: Curtis Blaydes vs. Mark Hunt
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- Video replay: UFC 221 post-event press conference
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC 221 winner Curtis Blaydes wants top-5 opponent in Chicago – and spot in UFC video game