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Curtis Blaydes set a heavyweight record for takedowns against Alexander Volkov in the UFC on ESPN 11 main event, but it wasn’t a flawless performance.
The Elevation Fight Team product fatigued down the stretch, allowing Volkov to have some life in the championship rounds. While Blaydes still earned a clear-cut unanimous decision, UFC president Dana White doesn’t think it measured up to the heavyweight’s comments on Twitter earlier in the week when he vowed to ragdoll his Russian opponent.
“He won. He talked a lot of s—t coming in this week,” White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I don’t think you can talk the s—t that he talked this week and come in and perform like that. Talking about ragdolling people and not getting paid. Yada yada. He should be getting a title shot. He gassed out at the end of the third round, made it to the fifth and won the fight. Yeah, he won.”
While Blaydes admitted his cardio still had room for improvement, he still took great satisfaction in essentially calling his shot against Volkov.
“I know who I am now. I’m the heel. You don’t like what I do? I like to make you mad,” Blaydes said. “That’s probably the best part about this win, is I predicted it.”
Blaydes also balked at the possibility of taking another fight as the heavyweight title picture unfolds. As it stands now, Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier are scheduled to complete their trilogy at UFC 252, and then Francis Ngannou — who owns two victories over Blaydes — would presumably be next in line.
“Stay busy against who?” Blaydes asked, while pointing out that his recent victories have come against opponents ranked below him.
“No. I don’t know, man. This is probably not the best time to answer that question so I’m just gonna leave that alone.”
White acknowledged that Blaydes would be next in line behind Ngannou in the heavyweight pecking order, but the UFC boss believes sitting on the sidelines is not in his best interest.
“With his performance tonight and his cardio, I wouldn’t wait around if I was him. I’d stay active,” White said. “I like Curtis Blaydes, but Curtis Blaydes has the wrong attitude as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have anything against the kid at all.
When you talk s—t like he talked this week, you better come in and whoop somebody’s ass when you talk s—t like that. When you talk the s—t that he talked and perform like he performed tonight, you look stupid.”