Curtis Blaydes Wants to Fight Ciryl Gane or Tai Tuivasa
The main event of UFC Fight Night 208 between Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall ended in anti-climactic fashion as Aspinall suffered a knee injury only 15 seconds into the fight. For Blaydes, he technically walked away with a TKO victory; however, that will not push him too far up the heavyweight rankings. Now, Blaydes is left with an interesting question. Who will he fight next?
What does Blaydes want?
In most cases, determining a fighter’s next fight is fairly simple. In this case, Blaydes finds himself with a limited number of options. With that being said, he seems to have left the idea of a rematch with Aspinall in the past as he looks to fight the winner of the UFC Paris main event between Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa.
“I’m not risking my ranking [for an immediate rematch],” Blaydes said. “I won the fight. Heading into this fight, I envisioned the winner — which is me — would be fighting the winner of [Tai] Tuivasa and [Ciryl] Gane. So, I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to fight those guys when it’s right there, to wait for Tom Aspinall to heal and run it back.Quote via MMA Fighting
For Blaydes, the rematch with Aspinall makes little sense. Aspinall will likely be out for a significant amount of time while Blaydes appears to be healthy. On the other hand, a fight against the winner of Gane and Tuivasa would be a number one contender’s bout.
Who will Blaydes fight?
The heavyweight division is currently in an interesting spot. Champion Francis Ngannou is currently recovering from ACL and MCL surgery. As a result, it is improbable that we will see another heavyweight title bout before 2023. At the same time, Jon Jones is moving up to heavyweight. All of these details will play a role in Blaydes’ future.
If Jones makes his heavyweight debut in 2022, it will likely be against Stipe Miocic. The winner of that fight will then fight for the heavyweight title. In that scenario, it would make sense for Blaydes to fight the winner of Gane and Tuivasa as the winner would be second in line for a title shot.
However, if Jones does not fight at heavyweight anytime soon then we may see the winner of Gane and Tuivasa fight for the title. That is especially true if Tuivasa can defeat Gane. If that happens, Blaydes will be left to fight the loser of Gane vs Tuivasa or another fighter that is lower in the rankings.
Blaydes finds himself on the outside looking in at heavyweight. Overall, there are a lot of moving parts in the heavyweight division. Before Blaydes gets a fight booked, other large dominos must fall and Blaydes will be paired up with what is left. That could be great for him but it also could be a disaster. Only time will tell.