Sonnen Ponders Why Blaydes Struggles To Gain Support Of Fans & UFC

Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen has discussed why heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes has had difficulty “getting over” in the promotion. There are few fighters who have split opinion in the MMA fanbase quite like Blaydes, at least among those not involved in any outside-the-cage antics, legal run-ins, or controversial statements. While many have acknowledged…

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Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen has discussed why heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes has had difficulty “getting over” in the promotion.

There are few fighters who have split opinion in the MMA fanbase quite like Blaydes, at least among those not involved in any outside-the-cage antics, legal run-ins, or controversial statements.

While many have acknowledged the 31-year-old’s immense skill inside the Octagon, which has seen him dispatch the likes of Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, unfortunately for Blaydes’ appeal, his game centers around something that many of the more casual fans don’t enjoy: grappling.

It’s probably safe to say that not many have received as much backlash for a wrestling display as “Razor” Blaydes did at UFC Vegas 3 in 2020. In the main event, the Illinois native landed 14 takedowns on former Bellator and M-1 Global champion Alexander Volkov, which helped him control the contest for five rounds en route to a decision win.

As well as many fans letting their displeasure at the performance known on social media, Blaydes even received criticism from UFC President Dana White, who accused the heavyweight of “talking sh*t” pre-fight and not backing it up in the cage.

While his latest performance, an impressive knockout victory over Chris Daukaus in the UFC Columbus main event earlier this year, likely turned a few more fans on side, it would be fair to assume that Blaydes still has an above-average number of detractors, which is something that confuses Chael Sonnen.

During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, the former two-division title challenger questioned why a fighter who “ticks” most boxes has struggled to establish himself as a favorite, both with the fans and in the eyes of the promotion’s bigwigs.

“Curtis Blaydes, the hardest time getting over with you, the audience. I really haven’t seen anybody in a meaningful period of time that checks as many boxes as Curtis does, and for some reason, there’s resistance,” said Sonnen. “And it’s not just with you, it’s with the media. It’s not just with you, it’s not just with the media, it’s with his opponents. It’s not just with you, it’s not just with the media, it’s not just with opponents, it’s with the boys in the suits on the second floor of the UFC.

“It’s just one of those things and it’s very hard to explain. He’s a handsome guy. He’s not afraid to fight. He fought Ngannou before anybody knew what an Ngannou was. When he found out what an Ngannou was, he demanded to fight him again… Got the same result and has been trying to fight him a third time. We love guys like that,” added Sonnen.

According to the 45-year-old, the negative view of Blaydes among some fans comes down to the fact that his wrestling-heavy game was branded as “boring.”

“Somebody comes along the way and decides they’re gonna call him boring. If you have a national wrestling championship, which Curtis Blaydes does, and somebody decides to go on (a forum) and label you boring, you’re stuck with ‘boring’ for a little bit. That’s the way it works,” said Sonnen.

“Curtis hears this, doesn’t wanna be boring, goes and starts working on his kickboxing. It’s cost him a couple times, go see the Derrick Lewis fight. But in all fairness, his kickboxing’s gotten very good… He’s an excellent fighter,” concluded Sonnen.

Having put his improved standup game on full display last time out, Blaydes will look to impress once again when he makes his second walk to the Octagon of 2022 this summer. On July 23, he’ll be entering enemy territory to face England’s Tom Aspinall in the UFC London main event.

Given Aspinall’s well-rounded game, it stands to reason that even if the headliner hits the ground, Blaydes will receive more resistance than he did against Volkov, whom the Manchester native has also had success against, submitting the Russian in one round in March.

Do you think Curtis Blaydes deserves more respect?

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Chael Sonnen Claims He Has Become Tom Aspinall’s Official ‘Media Representative’

Chael SonnenFormer UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger, Chael Sonnen has claimed that he will handle media responsibilities and promotion for heavyweight contender, Tom Aspinall’s upcoming UFC Fight Night London main event outing against Curtis Blaydes on July 23. Aspinall, who has so far enjoyed an impressive run of five consecutive victories during his Octagon […]

Chael Sonnen

Former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger, Chael Sonnen has claimed that he will handle media responsibilities and promotion for heavyweight contender, Tom Aspinall’s upcoming UFC Fight Night London main event outing against Curtis Blaydes on July 23.

Aspinall, who has so far enjoyed an impressive run of five consecutive victories during his Octagon tenure, headlined the most recent UFC London edition back in March – stopping former M-1 Global and Bellator heavyweight champion, Alexander Volkov.

Taking main event status for the first time during his UFC tenure, Aspinall managed to slice through Moscow striker, Volkov in dominant fashion – submitting the Russian kickboxing talent with a first round straight armbar

Following the victory, Aspinall, who has been touted as a title challenger at heavyweight – at the very least, was paired with the afornoted, Blaydes for the promotion’s July return to the capital. 

Chael Sonnen claims he will take over promotion duties for Tom Aspinall

And according to Sonnen, who questioned Aspinall’s ability to self-promote himself, he will now take the reigns as his “media representative” for his summer Octagon return.

“I really am going to handle the media going into Tom (Aspinall) for this fight (against Curtis Blaydes),” Chael Sonnen told The Mac Life. “We’re just going to see what happens. If the audience enjoys it, then we will go from there. Tom fights and trains very well but I wanted to give him the attention he deserves.”

“When I see a guy like Tom that’s 12-2 that now only fought a former world champion (Alexander Volkov), he also stopped him, he needs to be getting attention for that,” Chael Sonnen explained. “I’ll remind you of that main event, it was completely sold out with Tom at the top of the bill.” 
According to Sonnen to boot, Aspinall is close to reaching title contender status in the UFC – which would only be bolstered by a victory over Blaydes at The O2 Arena in July.

“Tom gets the credit for that, I don’t know that Tom always goes out and demands that credit though,” Chael Sonnen explained. “I think that Tom is one fight away from being in a world championship spot and not for nothing, they’ve (the UFC) dealt him from the bottom of the deck.”

Curtis Blaydes Explains Why He’d Never Bet On Himself

Despite wholeheartedly believing in his abilities when the cage door shuts behind him, UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes says he’d never bet on himself. Blaydes, who is currently sat at #4 in the heavyweight rankings, has been an ever-present towards the top of the division since arriving in the UFC. In 15 outings on MMA’s…

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Despite wholeheartedly believing in his abilities when the cage door shuts behind him, UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes says he’d never bet on himself.

Blaydes, who is currently sat at #4 in the heavyweight rankings, has been an ever-present towards the top of the division since arriving in the UFC. In 15 outings on MMA’s biggest stage, “Razor” has fallen to only two names, powerhouse Derrick Lewis in February 2021 and reigning champion Francis Ngannou in 2016 and 2018.

Beyond those defeats, Blaydes has dispatched former titleholder Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and Alexander Volkov. In his most recent two appearances, the 31-year-old breezed past top-10 contenders Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Chris Daukaus.

But despite his obvious talents, which includes a blossoming striking game, Blaydes wouldn’t go as far as to place money on his own success inside the Octagon.

During an interview on The Hannibal TV, Blaydes was asked whether he believes that other fighters often gamble on themselves ahead of their fights, especially with some expressing negative views towards their compensation in the UFC.

While Blaydes has no doubt that some attempt to improve their income in that way, he would certainly not follow suit, suggesting that it would be “bad luck” to bet on himself.

“I think it’s highly possible (that a lot of fighters bet on themselves). I wouldn’t do it, just ’cause I’m very superstitious, and I just think that’s bad luck,” said Blaydes. “So, I wouldn’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was already a thing. I already make enough, so I don’t feel the need to risk the extra money.”

Justin Jaynes Unsuccessfully Bet On Himself In 2021

Betting your entire fight purse, as well as your team’s, on yourself is quite the unique way to motivate yourself ahead of a crucial contest. As it turns out, it’s not particularly effective. Justin Jaynes is living proof.

At UFC Vegas 30 last June, not only did “Guitar Hero” leave the cage with a fourth straight defeat, courtesy of Charles Rosa and two of the three judges, he exited it without pay. Given the unpredictability of mixed martial arts, it never seemed like the smart and motivational move that Jaynes seemingly perceived it to be.

In the end, despite washing out of the promotion with the loss, Jaynes said that he had no regrets over the bet, which he estimated amounted to $22,500.

“No regrets,” Jaynes wrote on Instagram. “I said it before the fight and I’ll say it again. I was prepared for all outcomes. If anyone thinks me losing this bet is going to break me they are sadly mistaken.”

What do you make of fighters betting on themselves? Do you agree with Curtis Blaydes’ take on it?

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Francis Ngannou Has No Intentions Of Following Blaydes’ Retirement Advice

Francis Ngannou has no intentions of following Curtis Blaydes’ recent advice to retire from mixed martial arts (MMA). Blaydes, a two-time opponent of Ngannou, recently suggested that Ngannou retire from MMA and take advantage of other opportunities available to him outside of the UFC, most notably, a boxing match with Tyson Fury. This would net…

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Francis Ngannou has no intentions of following Curtis Blaydes’ recent advice to retire from mixed martial arts (MMA).

Blaydes, a two-time opponent of Ngannou, recently suggested that Ngannou retire from MMA and take advantage of other opportunities available to him outside of the UFC, most notably, a boxing match with Tyson Fury.

This would net Ngannou a payday higher than anything he’s ever earned in his UFC career.

“If I were him, I would retire from MMA,” Blaydes said. “He’s already done enough. He’s not gonna earn as much as he would earn in boxing.

“I would take the bag, take the opportunity to earn $40 million.”

However, Ngannou recently took to Twitter to respond to a similar suggestion. “The Predator” made it clear that he has no intentions of walking away from MMA anytime soon.

Instead, he doubled down that he has much more left to accomplish in this sport.

“I’m just getting started bro! I have at least 5 more years to conquer everything. #3KINGS

Ngannou currently reigns as UFC heavyweight champion and is currently on a six-fight win streak. The African champion pulled off his first successful title defense against former teammate Ciryl Gane back in January.

As for Blaydes, he’s currently on a two-fight win streak, looking to get back into title contention. Of course, that would mean a third bout with Ngannou.

Blaydes initially met Ngannou in April of 2016 and was defeated in the second round due to a doctor stoppage after a bad cut.

They rematched in November of 2018, with Ngannou finishing Blaydes in just 45 seconds of the first round in China.

What do you think about Francis Ngannou responding to Curtis Blaydes’ retirement advice? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tom Aspinall Responds To Chael Sonnen’s Criticism: “I’m More Than Happy Being Myself”

Tom AspinallTom Aspinall is more than happy being himself rather than playing a WWE like character in order to promote himself, like Chael Sonnen has suggested. Aspinall is the sixth ranked heavyweight in the organization, and is one of the most recognized up and coming fighters in the UFC. Aspinall has his biggest test ahead of […]

Tom Aspinall

Tom Aspinall is more than happy being himself rather than playing a WWE like character in order to promote himself, like Chael Sonnen has suggested.

Aspinall is the sixth ranked heavyweight in the organization, and is one of the most recognized up and coming fighters in the UFC. Aspinall has his biggest test ahead of him July 23rd, as he takes on one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, Curtis Blaydes.

Sonnen said ahead of this fight against Blaydes, that Aspinall needed to promote himself more as a fighter to get more eyes on him. He called Aspinall to sweet of a person and is too much of a fan of the sport to headline a major card.

“I can’t put him back in a main event,” Sonnen said. “I can’t put him in a title shot. I can’t put him in anything that he says he doesn’t belong in. Nobody can.” (Transcribed by Bloodyelbow)

Tom Aspinall answered Chael Sonnen in his latest interview with Ariel Helwani

“I never thought that I was going to be talking about a title after five UFC fights, six UFC fights. I feel like I’ve got more work to do. I’ve got a lot more work to do, more proving. I don’t want to be one of these people who gets here by talking. That is not me.” Aspinall said on The MMA Hour

Aspinall claimed that he would rather let his fighting do the talk for him, rather than continuously talking and calling people out. Aspinall’s approach going forward will be to continue being himself and a genuine person, rather than put on a persona like other fighters and WWE superstars.

“I’m more than happy being myself thanks and not selling myself out and acting like a [clown] for views and money,” wrote Aspinall on Instagram Stories. “I am not a WWE entertainer I’m one of the greatest heavyweights to walk on this [Earth] and it will be shown in my body of work from my UFC debut until I retire in 10 years. I don’t need to talk s—t. Happy to be myself.”

Blaydes Suggests Ngannou Should Retire From MMA

Curtis Blaydes thinks that UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou should take advantage of the opportunities available to him outside of MMA. The 31-year-old heavyweight made an appearance on the YouTube channel The Hannibal TV to discuss his upcoming main event bout at UFC Fight Night London. “Razor” was also asked his thoughts on the current…

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Curtis Blaydes thinks that UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou should take advantage of the opportunities available to him outside of MMA.

The 31-year-old heavyweight made an appearance on the YouTube channel The Hannibal TV to discuss his upcoming main event bout at UFC Fight Night London. “Razor” was also asked his thoughts on the current status of former opponent Ngannou.

“If I were him, I would retire from MMA,” Blaydes said. “He’s already done enough. He’s not gonna earn as much as he would earn in boxing. I would take the bag, take the opportunity to earn $40 million.”

Ngannou is currently recovering from knee surgery following his heavyweight title defense against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January. The 35-year-old’s contract with the UFC is set to expire at the end of this year, and “The Predator” has been vocal about his desire to box Tyson Fury once he’s healthy.

There’s been considerable speculation that the UFC might strip Ngannou of the heavyweight title if he intends to wait his contract out, but Blaydes isn’t so sure.

Blaydes and Ngannou have fought each other on two occasions, with Ngannou winning both bouts. (Getty Images)

“I don’t know if the UFC’s gonna wanna strip him. That’s another ‘I don’t know’. That’s up to them. You’d be a fool to actually think anyone knows what they’re gonna do.”

Currently the UFC’s #4-ranked heavyweight contender, Blaydes has shared the cage with Ngannou on two occasions. The two men first fought in 2016 in Blaydes’ UFC debut, with Ngannou coming out on top after a doctor called the fight off at the end of the second round.

“Razor” rebounded from his first career loss by going 5-0 (1 NC) through his next six fights before a main event rematch with Ngannou at a UFC Fight Night in Beijing. “The Predator” stopped Blaydes in under a minute to start his current five-fight win streak that includes winning the heavyweight strap from Stipe Miocic.

Blaydes is currently on a two-fight win streak following a decision over Jairzinho Rozenstruik and a second-round stoppage of Chris Daukaus. He’s scheduled to headline UFC Fight Night London in July against Tom Aspinall.

What do you think of Blaydes’ comments about Ngannou? Should the UFC’s heavyweight champion move on from the sport?

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