Combat Sports

Curtis Blaydes: An Overlooked Option

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The debate if Jon Jones would ever return to the UFC was answered Saturday, January 17th, 2023, when Dana White announced that Jones will return on March 4th at UFC 285 against Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight championship that Francis Ngannou recently vacated due to not being able to come to terms with the UFC on a contract that he believed was right for him.

The announcement of Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane is exciting and all, but it makes you think about the different matchups that could have played out and if there was a missed opportunity by not making Curtis Blaydes vs. Jon Jones.

No Flashy Gimmicks Needed

Sure, many people have been critical of Blaydes’ style in the past, but he has become a true mixed martial artist; his striking on the feet is just as devastating as any other Heavyweight. Curtis does not have a flashy gimmick and doesn’t get on the mic after a fight and talk smack, he just goes out there and fights, using his powerful takedowns and crisp, ever-improving violent striking – and it has done him well, finding himself ranked fourth.

With Curtis Blaydes’ finish of Tom Aspinall in London after an unfortunate injury to Aspinall which was sustained during the fight, one would have thought that a win may steal any momentum that Aspinall had leading up to the fight with Blaydes. It felt like the UFC was setting up the highly ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes to take a loss to the young, marketable Aspinall, and if Blaydes lost you know Aspinall would’ve been a top contender for a shot or even be next at the belt.

It is shocking how the UFC decided to pull the trigger on Ciryl Gane getting a shot at heavyweight gold over Curtis Blaydes or Sergei Pavlovich, or even Stipe Miocic. The question comes to mind of why they never reached out to Stipe Miocic to truly make this a money fight, knowing that Francis Ngannou was not returning. That is the business side of the sport, as the UFC might have known Miocic would have asked for a boatload of money, and it was simply easier to pay Gane – but hey, that’s speculation. It is just an interesting decision.

Sergei Pavlovich Next For Blaydes?

With the UFC 285 cemented for a new heavyweight champion being crowned at the end of the night, fight fans search for a potential matchup for Curtis Blaydes and that man will most likely be Sergei Pavlovich. Even Blaydes thinks this is his next matchup, taking to his social media to speak on the Gane vs. Jones fight.

If Curtis Blaydes can get past the dangerous heavy-handed Sergei Pavlovich there would be no denying he deserves a title shot if this fight does happen to be made. It is an “if”, simply because Stipe Miocic is still lurking in the heavyweight picture and eyes a shot at the winner of Gane and Jones.

Fight fans, would you have gone a different route if you were a matchmaker for Jon Jones’ return fight? Would Curtis Blaydes be an option? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

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Justin Gibbons has had love for MMA and combat sports since UFC 40: Vendetta. To him, mixed martial arts is a true test of someone’s will and drive to be the best, inside and out of the cage. He knows as fans we are lucky to witness these athletes (amateur or pro) because we get to see the hard work and commitment, the drive, and the heart that goes into it. Justin feels he is lucky to be able to do his part by interacting with fans and by getting a chance to tell the fighters’ stories and let the world know who they are.

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