The UFC’s heavyweight division has always been held under a microscope when it comes to young and fresh top contenders.
With Stipe Miocic sitting atop the division as champion, and former titleholders such as Fabricio Werdum, Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem among the Top-5, someone like Curtis Blaydes could be a key fixture moving forward.
But is that in the cards for Blaydes and the UFC? Fresh off earning a key victory over Mark Hunt, the 26-year-old disclosed that UFC 221 was the second-to-last fight on his current contract.
“If the UFC allows me to get to that fourth fight without a decent offer, I’ll listen to Bellator,” Blaydes told MMAjunkie. “They’ve been offering guys fat, fast contracts, an those heavyweights aren’t nearly as good as the ones in the UFC. So the enticement is there. Less competition for more money.”
After suffering a 2016 TKO loss to Francis Ngannou, who challenged Miocic for the title last month, Blaydes earned a win vs. Cody East. He had a victory in 2017 over Adam Milstead overturned to a no-contest after testing positive for marijuana, but has reeled off wins vs. Daniel Omielanczuk, Oleksiy Oliynyk and now Hunt since, improving to 9-1 overall.
Blaydes admits that he is in the fight game “for the money.”
“I know there are guys who enjoy getting hit in the face. They enjoy the rush. They enjoy the adrenaline,” he added. “I don’t. I don’t like getting hit in the face. It pisses me off. I’m only doing it because we’re getting paid. If we weren’t getting paid, I wouldn’t do this.”
Do you think the UFC should make a solid effort to sign Blaydes to a new contract before his next fight? Or would he be better off moving to Bellator and possibly joining the current grand prix as an injury replacement fighter?