Curtis Blaydes might not be the most dangerous striker in the UFC nor is he the best wrestler to ever compete inside the Octagon but none of that really matters to the No. 3 ranked heavyweight
The 6-foot-4 behemoth has been mauling the competition in the UFC for his past six fights and he hopes to rectify the one loss on his record this weekend when he faces Francis Ngannou in a rematch in China.
While working his way up the rankings, Blaydes has earned a reputation for his smothering style that doesn’t typically result in many flying strikes or flashy submissions.
Instead, Blaydes takes a lot of pride in the way that he breaks the will of his opponents through a wrestling heavy offense combined with an undying and relentless place.
“I think that’s always my greatest attribute,” Blaydes said when talking about his style inside the cage. “Even when it came to high school and collegiate wrestling — I don’t have the best technique, I don’t have the smoothest whatever, but my athleticism and my conditioning is what won me a lot of matches. I would shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and I won a lot of matches. I like scoring. I like breaking guys mentally.
“It’s easier to do it with MMA gloves on. It’s hard to do it just wrestling. It translates very well to MMA. That grinding style. It’s like Cain Velasquez. I always liked his style. He would take a lot more punches than I do but the mentality was the same. It’s always pressure, always going forward, always taking the center of the cage. That’s the style I like.”
“I like breaking guys mentally” ~ Curtis Blaydes
Blaydes says simply putting his chin down and plowing forward can often times start to break the will of his opponents because most heavyweights aren’t ready to deal with that kind of style for three or five rounds.
“That constant head down pressure makes them breathe harder,” Blaydes said. “I’ve noticed that just in sparring rounds. When I put my head down, I put pressure on them and it makes them breathe hard and I use that to my benefit.”
Blaydes hopes to do that this weekend against Ngannou and then he plans to do the same exact thing to anybody else standing in his way until he finally gets that UFC title wrapped around his waist.
He’ll take a huge step forward towards that goal if he can avenge his loss to Ngannou on Saturday in China.