Curtis Blaydes: I’m Still Better Than Derrick Lewis

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes believes that, despite his knockout loss last year, he’s still better than Derrick Lewis.

Blaydes, a perennial name in the group of elites at heavyweight, had his title charge stalled in 2021 at the hands (o…

Derrick Lewis, Curtis Blaydes

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes believes that, despite his knockout loss last year, he’s still better than Derrick Lewis.

Blaydes, a perennial name in the group of elites at heavyweight, had his title charge stalled in 2021 at the hands (or sole right bomb…) of Lewis. In the main event of UFC Vegas 19, the pair collided with a likely championship opportunity on the line.

Heading into the contest, Blaydes carried the momentum of a four-fight win streak that included triumphs over former UFC champion Junior dos Santos and former Bellator titleholder Alexander Volkov. “The Black Beast,” meanwhile, had knocked out Alexei Oleinik in his prior outing.

Despite starting well, Blaydes was rendered unconscious in the second frame after changing levels straight into a brutal uppercut. With the victory, Lewis joined Francis Ngannou as only the second man to beat Blaydes and went on to challenge for interim gold against Ciryl Gane.

Now, in an exclusive interview with MMA News, Blaydes has looked back on his 2021 setback, his hopes for 2022, the heavyweight debut of Jon Jones, and revealed who hits harder out of Lewis and Ngannou.

Blaydes Believes He Has “More Skills” Than Lewis

While Lewis was dominated by Gane at UFC 265 last August, Blaydes got back on track a month later at UFC 266. Against another KO artist in Jairzinho Rozenstruik, “Razor” shut down the power opposite him, as he’d intended to do seven months earlier against Lewis, and secured a comfortable unanimous decision victory.

With his position in the top five cemented and his name back in the title conversation, Blaydes is ready to make another surge to the top, one he believes shouldn’t have been stalled by “The Black Beast.”

Speaking to MMA News’ James Lynch, Blaydes claimed he is “still better” than Lewis despite the result in February 2021. Ultimately, the 30-year-old believes he boasts more skill than the powerhouse, who Blaydes says defeated him the only way he could, a one-and-done KO blow.

“I don’t lose to bums, and he ain’t a bum. I know that. I think, stylistically, I should have won that fight,” said Curtis Blaydes. “He won the one way he could win. I took a bad shot, he caught me, but otherwise, apart from that, because I’ve re-watched the fight, he lost that first round, he was on his way to losing that round, and I rushed it and paid the price. That’s always gonna annoy me because I do believe, I know I lost, but I do believe I’m still better than Derrick Lewis. I think I have more skills than him, more ways to win. I’m better athletically. He’s just really good at what he does, which is getting the knockout.”

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Having knocked out Chris Daukaus in December, Lewis will once again fight down the rankings in his next bout as his search for “fun” and pressure-free matchups continues. At UFC 271 next month, he’ll face fellow entertaining hard-hitter Tai Tuivasa.

Meanwhile, Blaydes will seemingly need to wait for some other fights to play out before his next opponent is set. Targeting an April return, “Razor” believes he could face the loser of this weekend’s unification showdown between Ngannou and Gane.

Who would you like to see Curtis Blaydes enter the Octagon with next?

Continue Reading Curtis Blaydes: I’m Still Better Than Derrick Lewis at MMA News.

Curtis Blaydes: Derrick Lewis Hits Harder Than Francis Ngannou

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes says that out of his former opponents Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou, it’s “The Black Beast” who packs the hardest punch.

Across his 19-fight professional MMA career, Blaydes has only tasted defeat agains…

Curtis Blaydes, UFC Vegas 19: Lewis vs. Blaydes, UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Ngannou 2

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes says that out of his former opponents Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou, it’s “The Black Beast” who packs the hardest punch.

Across his 19-fight professional MMA career, Blaydes has only tasted defeat against Ngannou and Lewis. In his UFC debut back in 2016, “Razor” had the first blemish added to his record by “The Predator” in the form of a doctor stoppage.

After going 6-0-1 in his next seven outings, a period that included wins against Aleksei Oleinik, Mark Hurt, and Alistair Overeem, Blaydes had his chance at redemption.

In the main event of a Beijing, China-held UFC Fight Night in 2018, the Illinois native shared the Octagon with Ngannou for the second time. On that occasion, the current UFC Heavyweight Champion got the job done without a doctor, securing a first-round TKO less than a minute into the contest.

Like with his first defeat, Blaydes had no issue rebounding after his second setback. Mounting a four-fight win streak, he defeated former titleholder Junior dos Santos and veteran striker Alexander Volkov. That form granted him a title eliminator against Lewis. But in the UFC Vegas 19 main event, Blaydes was knocked out cold for the first time in his career.

In an exclusive interview with MMA News, Blaydes discussed the immense power of both Ngannou and Lewis, the upcoming UFC 270 main event, his heavyweight GOAT, Jon Jones’ expected heavyweight debut, and his own return to action in 2022.

Blaydes: Lewis Slept Me, Ngannou Didn’t

Ngannou is widely regarded as not only the biggest power puncher in MMA but the hardest hitter on the globe. That claim is even backed up by some numbers. In 2017, the Cameroonian powerhouse set the record for the most powerful recorded punch in history.

That vicious ability to knock everyone and anyone out has been on full display in the UFC. In his five fights since consecutive defeats to Lewis and Stipe Miocic on the scorecards in 2018, Ngannou has knocked out Blaydes, Miocic, dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, four of whom didn’t even escape the opening round.

But despite that, Blaydes believes the UFC’s power throne is occupied by Lewis, who boasts the most KOs in UFC history. Having felt the power of both top-five heavyweights, “Razor” believes it’s “The Black Beast” who boasts the power edge, citing the fact Lewis was able to sleep him and Ngannou wasn’t as his reasons.

“Well, Derrick. Obviously, I’d never been put to sleep, he put me to sleep. Gonna have to give it to him,” Blaydes told MMA News’ James Lynch. “When we (Blaydes and Ngannou) fought the first time, that was a doctor stoppage, I was not out, but I guess it goes down as a TKO. And then in Beijing, again, he dropped me twice in rapid succession, and then the referee jumped in, but I was aware, I remember everything. When Derrick Lewis knocked me out, I woke up in the ambulance, so there you go. That’s a big difference.”

Both Ngannou and Lewis are preparing for fights in the coming weeks. While “The Predator” is set for a title unification bout against former teammate Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 next weekend, “The Black Beast” will ride his main event KO against Chris Daukaus into a clash against fellow hard-swinger Tai Tuivasa at UFC 271 next month.

Blaydes, on the other hand, finds himself in an awkward position. After comfortably defeating Rozenstruik at UFC 266 last September, he cemented his status as a top-five heavyweight.

However, with three of the four names above him booked, the other being Miocic, who will likely either fight for the title or challenge Jones next and having already defeated the two contenders below him, options are limited for the time being.

Targeting an April return to the Octagon, Blaydes will seemingly wait for other fights to play out, and will perhaps challenge the loser of next weekend’s pay-per-view main event.

Who would you like to see Curtis Blaydes enter the cage with next?

Continue Reading Curtis Blaydes: Derrick Lewis Hits Harder Than Francis Ngannou at MMA News.

Blaydes: MMA Fans Can Often Be Overly Emotional In Their Arguments

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes believes MMA fans are often “overly reactionary” and emotional when discussing the sport’s biggest topics. Blaydes’ comments came after UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Petr Yan at UFC 267. “Funk Master” has been out of action ever since his title […]

Continue Reading Blaydes: MMA Fans Can Often Be Overly Emotional In Their Arguments at MMA News.

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes believes MMA fans are often “overly reactionary” and emotional when discussing the sport’s biggest topics.

Blaydes’ comments came after UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Petr Yan at UFC 267. “Funk Master” has been out of action ever since his title crowning at UFC 259 in March. Having undergone neck surgery, Sterling was set to run it back with “No Mercy” in Abu Dhabi.

After not receiving medical clearance as a result of lingering issues following his operation, the champ withdrew. In his place, #3-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen stepped up and will face Yan for the interim gold on October 30.

Despite the likes of Sandhagen supporting the creation of the belt and recognizing the serious nature of Sterling’s surgery, many, especially those within the UFC fanbase, have suggested the 32-year-old should have been stripped of his title.

In an interview with MMA News’ own James Lynch, Curtis Blaydes gave his take on the situation. According to “Razor,” fans are often too quick to judge situations in the heat of the moment. Citing calls for Sterling to be stripped as an example, the 30-year-old suggested many let their emotions take over when giving their opinions.

“MMA fans sometimes are a little overly reactionary and they let their emotions do the speaking. And I’m sure sometimes they regret what they say in the heat of the moment. Because I don’t agree with them. I don’t think he should be stripped of his title. I mean, if the man’s injured, why would he lie? Why would you not want to defend your title and prove to everyone you deserve it?”

Providing some context to Sterling’s withdrawal, Blaydes asserted that a fighter’s health is the most important thing. Given what he’s heard about the 135-pound champ’s situation, he believes Sterling was right to pull out of his rematch with Yan.

“I read in an article he said at this point, he can only do like a few rounds in a row before he starts to lose feeling and the fatigue starts to get to him. You want to be your best. It’s hard to go out there—and you know, like, ‘Hey, if I don’t get this guy out of this cage within the first two rounds, I don’t know what’s gonna happen.’ That’s really scary. So I can’t blame him for just wanting to be healthy. I hope he does get back healthy. I hope he does get the opportunity to walk around and at least get a chance. Like, he might lose, he might win, but I don’t want him to get stripped. I think that’s unnecessary.” 

Catch our full exclusive interview with UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes below:

Do you agree with Curtis Blaydes? Or do you think Aljamain Sterling should have been stripped of the bantamweight belt?

Continue Reading Blaydes: MMA Fans Can Often Be Overly Emotional In Their Arguments at MMA News.

Quote: There’s A 50/50 Chance Jon Jones Gets Released From The UFC

According to Curtis Blaydes, the odds of Jon Jones being released by the UFC are that of a coin flip. In late September, Jon Jones was arrested for battery domestic violence. This is not the UFC superstar’s first encounter with law enforcement. In 2015, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run car accident with a pregnant […]

Continue Reading Quote: There’s A 50/50 Chance Jon Jones Gets Released From The UFC at MMA News.

According to Curtis Blaydes, the odds of Jon Jones being released by the UFC are that of a coin flip.

In late September, Jon Jones was arrested for battery domestic violence. This is not the UFC superstar’s first encounter with law enforcement. In 2015, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run car accident with a pregnant woman. We are six years removed from that dark time, yet the former 205-pound king still finds himself in trouble.

Opinions on the Jon Jones arrest story have varied. While notable bantamweight Sean O’Malley believes “when you’re drunk, it’s not your true self”, others like Miesha Tate, believe Jon Jones simply needs to grow up and show self-accountability.

Speaking with MMA News‘ own James Lynch, the #4-ranked heavyweight gave the lowdown on “Bones” and if he believes the potential ‘LeBron of MMA’ will be released by the UFC.

“The UFC, Dana, Hunter, I think they’re definitely having conversations about it, but it’s honestly 50/50,” Blaydes said to MMA News. “That’s how amazing he is. Even with all this, even with the domestic, like, it’s still 50/50. Like I wouldn’t be shocked if they did release him, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t. And even if they did release him, would it be a permanent release? Would it be just like a suspension? I don’t know.”

Curtis Blaydes stepped into the Octagon a day after Jones was arrested. The mild-mannered 265-pound athlete nullified Jairzinho Rozenstruik’s power en route to a decision victory at UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega. Following his performance, the 30-year-old regretted the fact that he didn’t pursue the finish with more intensity.

What is YOUR opinion on the latest arrest of Jon Jones, to release or not to release?

Continue Reading Quote: There’s A 50/50 Chance Jon Jones Gets Released From The UFC at MMA News.

Curtis Blaydes Confirms Reports That UFC Prematurely Leaks Fight News

The UFC’s rumored practice of leaking fight announcements prior to contracts being signed has been confirmed by Curtis Blaydes. The dubious tactic has long been suspected by some in the industry, most notably Ariel Helwani, who last month wrote about the subject to his Substack followers. “I’m happy that some of y’all are finally starting […]

Continue Reading Curtis Blaydes Confirms Reports That UFC Prematurely Leaks Fight News at MMA News.

The UFC’s rumored practice of leaking fight announcements prior to contracts being signed has been confirmed by Curtis Blaydes.

The dubious tactic has long been suspected by some in the industry, most notably Ariel Helwani, who last month wrote about the subject to his Substack followers.

“I’m happy that some of y’all are finally starting to figure out that the UFC “leaks” news to reporters before fighters agree to bouts. This is not cool. Why do they do this? Well, sometimes it’s to put pressure on fighters. Sometimes it’s just careless. Sometimes it’s because they are afraid another outlet or reporter is going to get it first, so they jump the gun. Either way, it’s not right and we all need to be better when it comes to reporting this stuff,” Helwani wrote. 

In an interview with MMANews this week, Blaydes spoke of his personal experience with the long-rumored practice. When asked if any of his fights have leaked prior to signing the contract, Blaydes revealed that’s exactly what happened with his most recent bout against Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 266.

“Yeah, I didn’t get the contract for this last fight until a month out,” said Blaydes. “We knew about this since June. So yeah, that happens a lot, actually. I hear guys in the gym all the time, ‘Yeah, I didn’t get the contract yet.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, well, don’t worry. It’s on the way’ Sometimes they just drag a little ass. I don’t know why. But yeah, that does happen.”

Curtis Blaydes calls UFC 225
Curtis Blaydes (Photo: Dylan Buell/Zuffa)

Curtis Blaydes Speaks to MMANews About UFC 266 Win And Possible Next Opponent

Blaydes is now very much back in the heavyweight title contention picture after defeating Rozenstruik last month. The unanimous decision victory came after a devastating KO loss to Derek Lewis in February, which ended Blaydes’ four-fight win streak.

Had “Razor” won that fight, he would have surely gone on to face Ciryl Gane for the interim title. But as the youngest of the top five heavyweights at 30 years old, Blaydes has plenty of time to mount another run at the title, and he seems to have all the tools to one day become champ.

Watch our full interview with Curtis below to hear his thoughts on that UFC 266 victory, the Jon Jones arrest, teammate Cory Sandhagen’s interim title shot, and his plans for a return to the Octagon in 2022.

What do you think about the UFC’s practice of prematurely leaking fight news?

Continue Reading Curtis Blaydes Confirms Reports That UFC Prematurely Leaks Fight News at MMA News.

Blaydes: Whoever Jon Jones Is Hanging Out With Are Not Good Friends

UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes has given his take on Jon Jones’ latest arrest, suggesting he needs to re-evaluate the people he has around him. Jones’ concerning incarceration occurred just hours after an appearance at the delayed 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. At the event, which took place in Las Vegas ahead of last month’s […]

Continue Reading Blaydes: Whoever Jon Jones Is Hanging Out With Are Not Good Friends at MMA News.

UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes has given his take on Jon Jones’ latest arrest, suggesting he needs to re-evaluate the people he has around him.

Jones’ concerning incarceration occurred just hours after an appearance at the delayed 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. At the event, which took place in Las Vegas ahead of last month’s UFC 266 pay-per-view, “Bones” was added to the Fight Wing for his memorable first clash with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in 2013.

Soon after the ceremony, the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion was taken into custody and charged with battery domestic violence and injuring and tampering with a vehicle.

Since news of Jones’ latest transgression emerged, a number of fighters and pundits have given their take on the reported crimes that the former UFC pound-for-pound #1 committed. The latest to do so is heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes.

In an interview with MMA News’ James Lynch, “Razor” Blaydes suggested Jones needed to change a number of variables in his life that have likely contributed to his frequent run-ins with the law. The #4-ranked heavyweight believes that, along with refraining from consuming alcohol, Jones needs to adjust the group of friends he has around him.

“It’s hard to watch. He could be the LeBron of MMA, but he just had all the legal issues. And that’s even without the PEDs, he’s had some major legal issues. And I think it’s the alcohol. I think he probably needs to remove alcohol from his life, which is not for me to tell him. That’s just what I think. And I think he needs a better group of homies. Like, whoever he’s hanging out with, they are not good friends. If I’m hanging out with Jon Jones in Vegas, ‘Bro, we’re going home at 11:30. You can’t be out. Because I can’t even give you the benefit of the doubt. We’re going home.’”

Catch our full exclusive interview with UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes below:

In 2020, Jones announced that he’d be vacating the 205-pound gold in order to pursue a move to heavyweight. Prior to his arrest, “Bones” revealed that he was targeting his divisional debut for the second-quarter of 2022. It remains to be seen how his UFC status will be affected by his latest troubling offence.

Do you agree with Curtis Blaydes’ take on Jon Jones’ latest arrest?

Continue Reading Blaydes: Whoever Jon Jones Is Hanging Out With Are Not Good Friends at MMA News.