UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes revealed to Heavy that UFC president Dana White was “right” for the stern criticisms he offered after his last fight. Blaydes defeated Alexander Volkov via unanimous decision on June 20, but the 29-year-old American heavyweight gassed late in the fight enough for White to heavily criticize Blaydes for looking “stupid”.
Heavy asked Blaydes what he thought and felt about White’s comments five months later, and the No. 2-ranked contender to Stipe Miocic’s throne gave a somewhat surprising answer.
“It is what it is,” Blaydes said. “He said what he said. He’s right. I should have worked harder to get the finish. I did get tired in that last round. I did do a little ‘laying and praying’ in that last round. But I had to do what I had to do to get that win. So he’s right.”
Don’t get him wrong. Blaydes doesn’t regret employing that strategy late in the fight to defeat Volkov.
“I don’t regret anything I did,” Blaydes said.
Instead, Blaydes looks at the whole thing as an opportunity for him to learn and grow. The best part? Blaydes got to learn that lesson and still win his fight.
“I learned and I won,” Blaydes said. “That’s the best way to learn.”
Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis next in the main event of the next UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas. UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis, aka UFC Vegas 15, takes place live at UFC APEX on November 28. You can watch all the action via ESPN+.
— UFC (@ufc) November 25, 2020
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A Look Back at White’s Comments
Despite the victory over Volkov last time out, White didn’t like what he saw from Blaydes.
“I like Curtis Blaydes, but Curtis Blaydes has the wrong attitude as far as I’m concerned,” White said per MMA Junkie.
“I don’t have anything against the kid at all, (but) when you talk (expletive) like he talked this week, you better come in and whoop somebody’s ass when you talk (expletive) like that. When you talk the (expletive) that he did and perform like he did tonight? You look stupid.”
At least part of the issue seemed to be how Blaydes told fans via social media not to watch the fight if they were expecting a stand-up striking battle.
FYI if y’all were hoping to see a 25 minute stand up war you probably shouldn’t tune in to the main event cause I fully intend on ragdolling my opponent just figured I’d let y’all know ahead of time 🤷🏾♂️
— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) June 19, 2020
Regardless, Blaydes doubled down on that same notion before he fights Lewis this weekend at UFC Vegas 15.
“People don’t like that I wrestle, and I’m not [going to change],” Blaydes said. “So I just embrace that. If you don’t like wrestling, you should probably not be watching this main event. Because there’s going to be a bunch of wrestling in it.”
Blaydes Gives Update on Relationship With White
Heavy asked Blaydes how his relationship with White was these days after White blew up the Internet over the summer with his pointed comments.
“It’s exactly the same as it was,” Blaydes said. “I know everyone is like ‘Oh, he dogged you in an interview’. I don’t care. It’s Dana White. He says emotional things about fighters he actually does like. How many times has he dogged Conor McGregor or Jon Jones?”
So Blaydes doesn’t take anything White says all that personally. In fact, he sees all of that stuff as just part of being a UFC fighter.
“People forget it because he does it so much,” Blaydes said
‘Heel’ Blaydes vs. Casual UFC Fans
These days, Blaydes is embracing his role as the UFC’s heavyweight “heel”.
He doesn’t care what anyone says or thinks about this smash-and-grab style. He’s going to keep doing it all the way to the top of the sport.
“I’m going to embrace it,” Blaydes said. “I’m always going to wrestle.”
Few are more dominant from the top than @RazorBlaydes265…
— UFC (@ufc) November 24, 2020
Perhaps a big stride in that direction, Blaydes went so far as to blame “lazy-minded” and “uneducated” fans for not understanding the subtleties of his wrestling-centric style.
“It’s because they’re lazy-minded, because it takes an educated fan to understand the intricacies of what is going on during those grappling exchanges,” Blaydes said. “They don’t want to put in the type or the effort or the energy to investigate and educate themselves on the aspects of jiu-jitsu and wrestling.”
Conversely, Blaydes suggested it’s way easier for people to get behind the UFC’s big punchers.
“It’s easy for any casual fan to be like ‘Oh, he hit him with an overhand, I know what that is,'” Blaydes said. “They’re lazy. That’s the end-all, be-all.”
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Blaydes on Popularity of Khabib Nurmagomedov
Finally, when asked why someone like UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov could employ a similar style to Blaydes with great successes and be lauded by millions of fans and UFC president Dana White as well, Blaydes suggested it was because American fighters get treated differently by their fans than their international counterparts do.
“When you’re Russian, or Canadian, or Asian, [anyone] non-American, you’re allowed to truly be you,” Blaydes said. “When you’re American, they expect you to be brash and loud and like Colby Covington.”
But don’t expect Blaydes to change his ways anytime soon. No matter what, Blaydes is just going to keep being Blaydes.
“That’s not me,” Blaydes said. “I hate that’s expected of me, but I also don’t mind disappointing people.”
‘Money’ Mayweather vs. ‘Money’ Blaydes
And does he believe fans might eventually come around to his style after enough wins prove his point? Perhaps in the same way that boxing fans did for Floyd Mayweather late in his career, too?
“It’s a possibility, but I don’t care if it does or doesn’t happen,” Blaydes said. “I’m in this for money, not approval.”
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