No. 2 ranked UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes is set to headline UFC Vegas 19 on Saturday night against No. 4 ranked Derrick Lewis. They were scheduled to fight in November, however Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was rescheduled for February 20.
In June, Blaydes received a lot of flack from White after his unanimous decision victory over Alexander Volkov in his last fight. Although the match clearly went to Blaydes as he utilized his dominant wrestling, the fighter fatigued in the latter part of the five-round bout, which led to the fight being less than entertaining for many viewers.
One person who was not impressed with Blayde’s performance was the UFC president. Before his fight with Volkov, Razor said he planned on “ragdolling” Volkov. And coupled with Blaydes saying he felt UFC fighters deserved more pay, White had choice words for the headliner.
“[Blaydes] won. He talked a lot of s*** coming in this week,” White said at the post-fight presser via Sherdog. “I don’t think you can talk the s*** that he talked this week and come in and perform like that. Talking about ragdolling people and not getting paid. Yada yada. He should be getting a title shot. He gassed out at the end of the third round, made it to the fifth and won the fight. Yeah, he won.”
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Blaydes Questioned the Way White Treats Contracted Fighters, Wants to Be ‘Cool’ With the UFC President
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During his interview with Helwani, Blaydes questioned why White speaks a certain way about some fighters, specifically those fighting at a high level who could earn a UFC championship one day.
“I beat Alexander Volkov. That’s a legit win. I don’t care how you do it,” Blaydes told ESPN via Sherdog. “You shouldn’t be disrespectful about how the win happened. That’s one thing I don’t understand. Why do you bash your fighters who are actually legit, who can be future champions? You can hate me. You can hate my wrestling. You cannot deny I am on the path to being a champion. Why bash me? I don’t understand that.”
Surprisingly, Blaydes revealed that he has never talked face to face with the UFC president.
“I have never actually spoken to Dana,” Blaydes said. “Not in person …I don’t think he follows my [Instagram]. I know he doesn’t have my phone number,” Blaydes said. “I was surprised he even spoke up after the fight. I didn’t even think he knew who the hell I was at that point.”
Blaydes also noted that he doesn’t want there to be animosity between himself and White.
“Of course you want to be cool with the boss,” he continued. “But I also understand he likes guys who give some highlights. I’ve got to add some more highlights to my resume and maybe we’ll have a drink or two one day.”
Blaydes Is Not Willing to Risk His $100,000 Win Bonus to ‘Stand & Bang’ With Lewis
Although Lewis has been working on his wrestling, Blaydes is coming into the fight with a much more prominent grappling background. And instead of standing and trading with “The Black Beast,” Razor plans to use his wrestling to defeat Lewis, who holds the record for most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history.
Blaydes isn’t concerned about putting on a barnburner of a fight.
“If I win the exact same way, I would be fine, because guess what, it’s another win, it’s a win bonus,” he said via Sherdog. “I don’t know if a lot of people care, but I have a family. I’m trying to feed my family. I don’t care if you want me to risk my win bonus, which is $100,000, to stand and bang with a guy who has terrible wrestling. I’m just not going to do it. Unless you defend every takedown attempt, I’m not going to stop trying to wrestle you. You have to deter me, and I don’t think Derrick is going to deter me.”